I recently read Jennifer Egan’s historical novel Manhattan Beach, a noir thriller that transported me to New York during World War II. The main character, Anna Kerrigan, comes of age at a time when the country grappled with war abroad and its effects at home. Resilient and determined, Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard as a diver repairing ships. The rich descriptions of the naval yard, the city streets, and the dark, smoky nightclubs, paint a vivid picture of the context in which she lived and worked. Newspapers reported on the war in Europe, and she learned of individuals’ experiences through letters and friends’ accounts. While reading, I thought about how young women experienced the city at this historical moment.