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Line, Please
Vanessa Hua
8 Installments

In Hong Kong, Kingsway Lee is a pop star of epic proportion, a movie star, crooner, and tabloid darling turned tabloid disgrace by a recent sex photo scandal. Back home in California, where he’s hiding from paparazzi, mafioso, and scores of husbands in jealous rages, he’s a nobody, unrecognized by the public and distasteful to his parents, who still see him as the kid who never finished his premed degree at Berkeley. As he tries to find a place in his family and in the heart of his childhood crush, he faces an important decision. He could pick up where he left off years ago and build the sort of stable, decent life his sister has managed. Or he could dive back into the glittering muck of his own stardom and exact a thrilling revenge on the man who brought him down.

Also available as part of the story bundle You Don’t Look Like Your Picture: Stories of Love in the Digital Age, six stories for just $4.99.


Vanessa Hua’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, ZYZZVA, Calyx, New York Times, Salon, and elsewhere. Previously, she was a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, and has reported from Asia. A Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she blogs at threeunderone.blogspot.com

Dec. 21, 2013
Fascinating story!
This mash-up of clashing and merging cultures is a really fun read. Kingsway (great name) is this Hong Kong pop idol who has so much going for him, yet he's so lost. I can only imagine what lengths the author went to to in her research to make the main character's dilemma so authentic.
Dec. 24, 2013
A Seductive and Enthralling Read
One of Vanessa Hua's greatest strengths is her eye for detail. She creates settings so richly textured that the reader loses themselves in the first few lines of the story and doesn't re-emerge until many pages later. I found myself equally seduced by her Hong Kong and her California, the depictions of glittering fame and gritty infamy. The protagonist is a fascinating tour guide for each of these environments, but Hua is clearly the more masterful docent for her mesmerizing depiction of Kingsway's inner journey.
Dec. 27, 2013
great story, great character!
A great story, and Kingsway is an incredible narrator, one I'd follow anywhere. With a voice both droll and caustic -- or as he puts it, "jumpy and jet-lagged from last night’s sleeping pills and this morning’s Red Bull" -- he's the sort of narrator only great literature allows us to empathize with. Hua does an amazing job taking him out of his comfort bubble, granting him just the right blend of myopia and self-awareness (or maybe it's camera-induced self-consciousness masquerading as self-awareness?), and then watching him fray: "My hook-ups -- my entire existence in Hong Kong -- had been possible because of the camera’s omnipresence, I realize then. Framing the shot, zooming in, I had watched as though outside of myself, performing the playboy, on and off the set, in and out of the bedroom. Now, the lens shuttered, I no longer know how to act." Read it!
Line, Please
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