Booksmith welcomes Vanessa Hua (Deceit and Other Possibilities) back to the store to launch her debut novel, A River of Stars. Joining her in conversation is Zyzzyva managing editor Oscar Villalon.
Holed up with other mothers-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now she's carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, Boss Yeung is overjoyed because the doctors have confirmed that he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his child has every advantage, Boss Yeung has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince.
As Scarlett awaits the baby's arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend.
Then a new sonogram of Scarlett's baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a van—only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. The two flee to San Francisco's bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn't know is that her baby's father is not far behind her.
"Illuminates the lives of her characters with energy, verve, and heart. Hua tracks the minutest emotional terrain of these characters while simultaneously interrogating the cultural and economic forces that shape their worlds."—Emma Cline, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls
"A River of Stars splits the 'Chinese immigrant story' into a kaleidoscopic spectrum, putting human faces to the many groups -- rich and poor, privileged and marginalized, documented and not—who come to America. Vanessa Hua's debut is an utterly absorbing novel about the ruthless love of parenthood and the universal truth that sometimes family runs deeper than blood alone."—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You
"How does Scarlett Chen -- pregnant, with her immigration status in peril—make her way in America without friends, language, and money? Vanessa Hua's compelling A River of Stars is a story of resistance, survival, and self-determination in a world that is seemingly indifferent to the needs of the poor and disenfranchised."—Min Jin Lee, author of National Book Award finalist Pachinko
"A River of Stars is as pleasurable in its parts as it is profound in its sum. It is a road novel, an immigrant narrative, a family saga, a mystery, and the unlikeliest of love stories, all animated by a magnificent cast of characters who bear out John Berger's assertion that 'never again shall a single story be told as though it were the only one.' Vanessa Hua's debut contains multitudes."—Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Tsar of Love and Techno
Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of a short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and fiction, about Asia and the Asian diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the San Francisco Foundation's James D. Phelan Award, and 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 publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. A River of Stars is Vanessa Hua's first novel. Her author photo is by Andria Lo.
RSVP appreciated but not required. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to request a signed copy of A River of Stars and/or Deceit and Other Possibilities, order below and put your notes in the comments field.