Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City (Hardcover)

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City By Jane Wong Cover Image

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City (Hardcover)


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2024 PNBA Award Winner

"[Wong] paints her story with flourish."—The New York Times

"A love letter to Atlantic City and the Asian American working class."— The Los Angeles Times

"Blazing, lyrical."—The Boston Globe

"Joyful. . . . Wong’s memoir invites those who have been overlooked in America to hold up their verses, accolades and solidarity in a collective rejoinder to their detractors."—The Washington Post

 An incandescent, exquisitely written memoir about family, food, girlhood, resistance, and growing up in a Chinese American restaurant on the Jersey shore.

In the late 1980s on the Jersey shore, Jane Wong watches her mother shake ants from an MSG bin behind the family’s Chinese restaurant. She is a hungry daughter frying crab rangoon for lunch, a child sneaking naps on bags of rice, a playful sister scheming to trap her brother in the freezer before he traps her first. Jane is part of a family staking their claim to the American dream, even as this dream crumbles. Beneath Atlantic City’s promise lies her father’s gambling addiction, an addiction that causes him to disappear for days and ultimately leads to the loss of the restaurant.

In her debut memoir, Jane Wong tells a new story about Atlantic City, one that resists a single identity, a single story as she writes about making do with what you have—and what you don’t. What does it mean, she asks, to be both tender and angry? What is strength without vulnerability—and humor? Filled with beauty found in unexpected places, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City is a resounding love song of the Asian American working class, a portrait of how we become who we are, and a story of lyric wisdom to hold and to share.

Jane Wong is the author of the poetry collections How to Not Be Afraid of Everything and Overpour. An associate professor of creative writing at Western Washington University, she grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

Product Details ISBN: 9781953534675
ISBN-10: 1953534678
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: May 16th, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English

[Wong] paints her story with flourish.
— The New York Times Book Review

Blazing, lyrical. . . . A tender love letter.
— The Boston Globe

Her story is about surviving with what you have and what you don’t?and also a love letter to Atlantic City and the Asian American working class.
— The Los Angeles Times

Joyful. . . . lyrical. . . . Wong’s memoir invites those who have been overlooked in America to hold up their verses, accolades and solidarity in a collective rejoinder to their detractors.
— The Washington Post

With a strong sense of place and voice, heart and soul, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City delivers a fresh take on the Asian American working class -- and one woman's journey to understanding her past.

— Good Morning America

Delightful. . . . With a poet’s ear for language and a satirist’s eye for human foibles, Wong masterfully marries her personal story with larger questions about Chinese American identity. This is a winner.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Loaded with personality and originality. . . . lyric energy bursts from almost every sentence.
— Kirkus Reviews

In a soaring poetic voice layered across word-worlds of varying textures, from photographs to drawings to text-message conversations to an intense nonfiction index. . . . Jane Wong’s Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City transcends the genre of memoir.

— Los Angeles Review of Books

One of the standout memoirs of 2023 thus far. . . . Alive with the beauty that comes with looking back on one’s life with grace and new understanding.
— Chicago Review of Books

Wong writes with candor, vexation, and compassion.
— Bustle

Unfiltered…. [an] aching, angry, surprisingly funny portrait of a poet demanding, fighting, and eating her way to self-acceptance and earned recognition.
— Booklist

Written with poetic lyricism laced with rage and humor. . . . What shines through in Wong’s memoir is the beacon of her mother’s indefatigable optimism and trust in others in the face of a multitude of hardships.
— The Rumpus

An honest look at a working-class community that is too often forgotten. Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City refuses summary with its sprawling essays of how love, community, and writing make us resilient.

— Ploughshares

Gorgeous. . . . dense with beautiful sensory images, particularly of food. In her own indelible way, Wong records her coming of age and finding her place in her family, in poetry and in the world.
— Book Page

Wonderful. . . . an honest and forgiving recollection of a childhood. . . . perfect for fans of Seeing Ghosts and Stay True.

— Book Riot

Humorous and honest and lyrical. . . . This story of making a life with what you have is one that will stick with you.
— Independent Book Review

Resists a single identity. It’s about making do with what you have and don’t have and finding beauty in unexpected places. It’s a loving portrait of the Asian American working class.
— She Reads

More than a story of immigration or of one US city, it explores the complexities of life and the dichotomies of emotion and experience that can occur within a single person.
— Ms. Magazine

Essential. . . . an original immigrant story that is also universal.
— Full Stop

Thick with poetic imagery. . . . There’s an urgency here, a gobbling speed that matches the intensity of the flavors spilling out of the restaurant kitchen.
— Crosscut

Sizzles with originality and with heart.
— Hippocampus Magazine

About growing up working class, Wong’s path to forgiving her father, dealing with abusive and toxic men and the beauty of mother-daughter relationships.
— Purewow

I love a good memoir, and I’m looking forward to poet Jane Wong’s Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, about growing up in a Chinese restaurant on the Jersey shore.

— Joanna Goddard - Cup of Jo

The abundance and the beauty and the bounty that is this book completely blew me away. . . . It’s so crisp, clear and evocative and just a joy to read.
— I'm a Writer But

My favorite aphorism about New Jersey is that only the strong survive it. I see that place here in all its chaotic splendor and that strength in the carving marks on each finely cut image. This is a perfect and glimmering book that could only have been forged in Jane Wong’s bloody and beautiful heart.
— Elissa Washuta, author of White Magic

Jane Wong, with her poet’s eye for precise and delightful detail, carves out a quintessential story of family, gambling, loss, heartaches, toothaches, and above all, love. Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City takes a father’s addiction to the prismatic casinos of Atlantic City and places it against a mother’s fierce, unsparing devotion and a daughter’s struggle to make sense of loss. I love the tenderness and ferocity of her prose, unsentimental and wrenching, that refuses easy triumph in its immigrant story and isn’t afraid of uncovering both beauty and brutality. Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City is, at heart, a love story between Wong and her mother, Wong and herself.

— Sally Wen Mao, author of Oculus

To borrow Jane Wong’s own words, there are sparks coming off Wong’s blade of language. The spunky voice in this memoir shines through. I’m so grateful to Wong for telling her unique story in only the way she can, and in the process, expanding the possibilities of Asian American stories. There’s so much heart in these stories that explore race, class, and family history, that we can’t help but root for the protagonist. This is a big-hearted coming-of-age book that simultaneously asks hard questions.
— Victoria Chang, author of The Trees Witness Everything

Searing, stunning, and singular.
— Kyle Lucia Wu, author of Win Me Something