Cinema Love: A Novel (Hardcover)

Cinema Love: A Novel By Jiaming Tang Cover Image
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A Dakota Johnson x TeaTime Book Club Pick

“Exceptional, moving, and not to be missed.”—Alice Hoffman

“Gentle and fierce, heartbreaking without sacrificing its sense of humor . . . I have never read anything like it.”—Robert Jones, Jr.

A staggering, tender epic about gay men in rural China and the women who marry them.

For over thirty years, Old Second and Bao Mei have cobbled together a meager existence in New York City’s Chinatown. But unlike other couples, these two share an unusual past. In rural Fuzhou, before they emigrated, they frequented the Workers’ Cinema: a theater where gay men cruised for love.
While classic war films played, Old Second and his countrymen found intimacy in the screening rooms. In the box office, Bao Mei sold movie tickets to closeted men, guarding their secrets and finding her own happiness with the projectionist. But when Old Second’s passion for his male lover is revealed, a series of haunting events unfold, propelling these characters toward an uncertain future in America.
Spanning three timelines—post-socialist China, 1980s Chinatown, and contemporary New York—Cinema Love is an “exceptional" and "moving” (Alice Hoffman) epic about men and women who find themselves in forbidden relationships; the weight of secrets; and the way memory forever haunts the present.

About the Author

Jiaming Tang is a queer immigrant writer. He holds an MFA from the University of Alabama, and his writing has appeared in such publications as AGNI, Lit Hub, Joyland Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a 2022-23 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Cinema Love is his first novel.

Praise For…

Most Anticipated by Read Between the Spines, Book Riot, LGBTQ Reads, Debutiful, SheKnows, and Write or Die

A Library Journal Editors' Pick

“Moving…Part ghost story, part love story, and part tale of hardscrabble immigrant life, this intricately plotted novel asks whether, in the end, it is better to forgive or to forget.” The New Yorker

“This tender, elegant debut follows gay men and their wives from pickups at a 1980s Mawei movie theater to loss and longing in NYC’s Chinatown.” Vanity Fair

Cinema Love is a gripping narrative with sharply drawn characters . . . A beautiful meditation on love, loss, and the haunting power of the past.” —New York Journal of Books

“There is much to admire in this intricately plotted novel. The depiction of Chinese immigrant life in America is very well done: rich in detail, and with lovely flashes of humour . . . And it’s a story with real heart: Tang shows genuine sympathy for each of his flawed characters as he carefully unpicks the moral complexities of their choices.”The Guardian

"The pages crackle with the tension of a Hollywood thriller. There are elements here of Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Tom Crewe’s The New Life... an enticing, engaging read" The Times

“Resonant and textured... Tang announces himself as a writer to watch with this unshakable novel.” Publishers Weekly *starred*

“A haunting story of shared pasts and troubled memories.” Kirkus *starred*

“Rich in simile and metaphor, Tang's book is beautifully written too (things happen 'with the urgency of a bullet wound,' a city grows 'like a tumor'). An excellent first novel and a captivating reading experience.” Booklist *starred*

“Exceptional, moving, and not to be missed.”—Alice Hoffman

"Gentle and fierce, heartbreaking without sacrificing its sense of humor, Jiaming Tang’s Cinema Love perfectly mines the difficult-to-reach space between agony and pleasure. I have never read anything like it, but my most secret parts have always longed to know the hidden truths it reveals. Guided through these shadowy and sorrowful places by Tang’s plush and vivid prose, I found myself breathless until the very end—and even then barely able to exhale. This is the unforgettable work of a patient master." —Robert Jones, Jr., author of The New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist The Prophets

"Lush, romantic, daring, and filled with indelible characters, Cinema Love is not just an extraordinary debut, but a future classic. In this story of forbidden queer love and the cost of secrets, Jiaming Tang gives voice, humanity, and dignity to people so often rendered invisible by society. Here, Chinese laborers, factory workers, seamstresses, nail technicians, and cooks take glorious center stage, their lives and deepest yearnings made epic. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t stop reading."—Jessamine Chan, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers

"Cinema Love grasps you tightly in the heart, then does not let go. A tender and enrapturing feat of storytelling, this novel unwraps the brightest and darkest moments of queer love and all its humanity. The stories of the men and women in this book swallowed me whole, and I will never forget them."—Vanessa Chan, national bestselling author of The Storm We Made

“A beautifully told story about the delicate tension between love and longing, the crisis of loneliness, and the price of regret. With a wise, masterful compassion, Cinema Love announces Jiaming Tang as an essential new voice in literature. I absolutely loved this book.” —Emily Habeck, author of Shark Heart

"Masterful... Cinema Love is a tender, deeply compassionate debut, with characters so vividly drawn they feel alive." —Grace D. Li, New York Times bestselling author of Portrait of a Thief

“A testimony to the power of humanity and queer love, Cinema Love brings to life characters and places that literature is missing, and that readers will never forget.” Qian Julie Wang, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Country

“Gracefully crisscrossing China and New York City's Chinatown, Cinema Love lays bare that which so many of us feel: the struggle against loneliness, attempts to forge a life beyond betrayals large and small, and the fact that liberation for some means loss for others. Featuring characters full of wit, humor, and longing, Jiaming Tang's debut navigates the complexities of intimacy with the utmost care, while also affirming that in order to build a better future, we must first make peace with the past. Hear me now: this is a book that'll stay with you long after the last page.” —Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author of Black Buck and forthcoming This Great Hemisphere

"A staggering feat of storytelling, epic in its reach yet so intimate and nuanced in its ability to break the heart of its reader. Tang honours the many stripes of his characters' journeys with forensic clarity, compassion and authenticity."—Wiz Wharton, author of Ghost Girl, Banana

“I loved it. Cinema Love fizzes with energy. The characters are rich and warm and the prose is perfect. Jiaming Tang is a remarkable new voice.”—Fiona Mozley, author of Elmet and Hot Stew
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593474334
ISBN-10: 0593474333
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English