I am someone who falls deeply into novels. It's not uncommon for me to dream about the characters I'm reading about.... they become a part of my consciousness for the time that I'm inside a novel.
I also rely on fiction to kind of "take me away" from my real life. Non-fiction isn't my favorite genre, but when a novel talks about a contemporary issue that I didn't know about, I love that feeling of learning as well as diving into stories.
And so it went with Scarlett, the main character in Vanessa Hua's new novel "A River of Stars". She's a woman in her thirties who left the countryside to move up in the world. She begins a relationship with her married boss, gets pregnant, and because he believes she is carrying a boy she is sent to the United States to have him. I knew some about China's One Child Policy, but I had never heard of "maternity hotels" or "birth tourism".
In "A River of Stars" Scarlett is one of many pregnant chinese women that are imprisoned for large sums of money, to have children with United States Citizenship. It's a complicated family tale and the story of an immigrant working hard to protect her child and make her way out of an incredibly difficult situation in a foreign country.
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