Last night at the Telegraph Club

by Lo, Malinda,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 12 copies
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"Proof of Malinda Lo's skill at creating darkly romantic tales of love in the face of danger. "--O: The Oprah Magazine

"The queer romance we've been waiting for."-- Ms. Magazine

"Restrained yet luscious."--Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Tipping the Velvet

A National Bestseller

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root--that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.

But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "For 17-year-old Lily Hu, San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1950s is home to her community and culture. However, despite having friends and loving parents, she struggles with a sense of belonging. Rather than fixating on boys, like her friends, Lily dreams of working at the Jet Propulsion Lab (where her aunt works) and traveling to Mars. Slowly, Lily realizes that more than her life goals are in play here, as she recognizes that she is attracted to women rather than men. That includes Kath, the other girl in her math class, whose goal is to fly airplanes. After the two connect over an ad for a male impersonator at the Telegraph Club and begin frequenting the establishment, Lily's life changes forever. Fearful of exposing her feelings and of her family being labeled Communists (as a result of the Lavender Scare), Lily is faced with hard decisions about herself and those she loves. Writing beautifully with a knowing, gentle hand that balances Lily's unease and courage, Lo presents a must-read love story in an uncommon setting: the midcentury queer Bay Area at a time when racism, homophobia, and McCarthyism held tight grips on the citizenry. The author's notes are a wealth of historical information and discuss the seed from which this alternately heart-wrenching and satisfying story grew."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The year is 1954, and American-born Chinese 17-year-old Lily Hu, a rising senior at San Francisco's Galileo High School, discovers the existence of the Telegraph Club nightclub by chance: via an ad in the Chronicle featuring a Male Impersonator. Lily secretly gathers photos of women with masculine qualities; she's drawn toward "unfeminine" clothing and interests such as chemistry, engines, and space. Dawning recognition of her lesbianism comes alongside a budding connection with Kathleen Miller, a white classmate. But openly exploring queerness isn't an option--not with her mother touting "respectability," and society's limited perception of Chinese-Americanness as either "China doll" or "real American"-adjacent, and especially not amid McCarthyism--during which Chinese people, including those within Lily's close Chinatown community, are targeted as Communist sympathizers. As Lily falls deeper in love, though, she must work to balance the shifting elements of her identity with a landscape of sociopolitical turmoil that will resonate with contemporary readers. Lo incorporates Chinese food and language, appending explanatory footnotes for romanized Cantonese and Mandarin terms and characters. Smoothly referencing cultural touchstones and places with historic Chinese American significance, Lo conjures 1950s San Francisco adeptly while transcending historicity through a sincere exploration of identity and love. Back matter includes an author's note explaining Lo's personal connection to the story. Ages 14--up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Jan.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Lesbians -- Fiction.
Chinese American teenagers -- Fiction.
Lesbian bars -- Fiction.
Identity (Psychology) in adolescence -- Fiction.
Race relations -- Fiction.
Families -- Fiction.
Cold War -- Influence -- Fiction.
Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Fiction.
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :2021
Language English
Description 409 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 407-408).
ISBN 9780525555254
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