Skip to content Skip to navigation

Book Review: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Sunday, February 14, 2021 - 08:22
Book cover - Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

(I'm going to try to get caught up on reviews, which means the reviews may be briefer than I usually prefer to do.)

This is a coming-of-age story set in 1950s San Francisco that intersects the experiences of a second-generation Chinese-American woman, balancing the expectations of her family and culture with a geeky love of science fiction and math, in the midst of exploring her sexuality in the lesbian nightclubs of North Beach at the side of a new friend who shares all the interests that are drawing her away from the path laid out for a "good Chinese daughter."  The story is a bildungsroman rather than a romance, though there is the promise of a happy ending for all the various threads. And the protagonist's discovery of her sexuality is only one of several central themes. In particular, Lo creates a vivid picture of the Chinese community in mid-century San Francisco, in all its complexity and contradictions.

Major category: 
historical