A powerful debut novel of motherhood, immigration, and identity, about a Chinese woman who makes her way to California to give her baby U.S. citizenship, and whose harrowing yet heart-warming journey redefines what it means to be an American.
Scarlett Chen is on the run. On her own since she was a teenager, this Chinese factory clerk has changed jobs, friends, and even her history again and again. Now she’s eight months pregnant and stranded in Los Angeles. Her married lover—also her boss—sent her to a secret maternity center to give birth, thus bestowing their baby with a priceless advantage: U.S. citizenship. But when she is betrayed by her lover, she flees, setting off a hunt for her and her unborn baby. In the stolen getaway van, Scarlett discovers a pregnant teenage stowaway, another escapee from the maternity center. Hiding out in San Francisco’s Chinatown, they must reinvent themselves. In pursuit, Scarlett’s lover treks from a crumbling Chinese village to a Silicon Valley genetics lab. He must decide where his true loyalties, and greatest love, lie—and Scarlett must stop running and commit to a future.
Praise for A River of Stars
“Utterly absorbing.”—Celeste Ng
“A marvel of a first novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Hua’s story spins with wild fervor, with charming protagonists fiercely motivated by maternal and survival instincts.”—USA Today
“Hua’s epic A River of Stars follows a pair of pregnant Chinese immigrant women—two of the more vibrant characters I’ve come across in a while—on the lam from Los Angeles to San Francisco’s Chinatown.”—R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries, in Esquire
Vanessa Hua is a weekly columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the short story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities. For nearly two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora in journalism and in fiction. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific Award for Literature, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists’ Association. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, FRONTLINE/World, The Washington Post, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She lives in northern California, where she is writing her next novel for Ballantine Books.
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