Summary and book reviews of Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo X
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jan 2021, 416 pages

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Book Summary

Acclaimed author of Ash Malinda Lo returns with her most personal and ambitious novel yet, a gripping story of love and duty set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1950s.

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

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.

Coming Soon.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
PRE-READING EXERCISE
In Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo challenges popular perceptions of the 1950s, including stereotypes about Chinese Americans, the invisibility of the lesbian and gay community, and the role of women in the space program, particularly as computers.

EXERCISE:
What do you know about the 1950s? What assumptions do you have about people, places, and events? Make a list on a piece of paper. Then, as you read Last Night at the Telegraph Club, keep note of anything new that you learn, especially things you are surprised or concerned by.



DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
(PROLOGUE) What themes and tensions does Lo set up for the novel in the Prologue, particularly around race, nationalism, culture, and gender?

(CHAPTER 2)...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

O, The Oprah Magazine
The Price of Salt meets Saving Face in this gripping historical thriller from the celebrated author of Ash....Last Night at the Telegraph Club is proof of Lo's skill at creating darkly romantic tales of love in the face of danger.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details...Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

Booklist (starred review)
A must-read love story in an uncommon setting…alternately heart-wrenching and satisfying.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
This immersive, powerful coming-of-age novel tackles perceptions, expectations, and identity while sweeping readers into smoky lesbian nightclubs and '50s culture.

Author Blurb Sarah Waters, international bestselling and award winning author of Tipping the Velvet and The Night Watch
Lo's writing, restrained yet luscious, shimmers with the thrills of youthful desire. A lovely, memorable novel about listening to the whispers of a wayward heart and claiming a place in the world.

Author Blurb Emily X.R. Pan, New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After
Exquisite and heart-shattering, Last Night at the Telegraph Club made me ache with wishing. This book is for anyone who has ever loved—in any sense of the word.

Author Blurb Laura Ruby, two-time National Book Award Finalist and Printz Award winning author of Bone Gap
A sweeping and romantic page-turner, the heart of this rich and ambitious historical novel is a love story that thrums with passion and self-discovery.

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