This luminous debut novel follows a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her coming of age in the United States—and then her necessary return to her homeland.
As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her imposing, distant mother, she turns for affection to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.
As a young adult in New York, cut off from her homeland and haunted by the scars of her youth, she remains a woman without a country. She follows a stranger who reminds her of her soldier, and falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories that have come to define her life— and address the possibility of freedom.
A modern tale of immigration as it is lived today, as well as a classic story of love and the need to belong, this enchanting novel explores the interplay between memory and identity, and brings a modern twist to the age-old question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?
Abbigail N. Rosewood
Abbigail N. Rosewood was born in Vietnam, where she lived until the age of twelve. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. An excerpt from her first novel won first place in the Writers Workshop of Asheville Literary Fiction Contest. She lives in New York. If I Had Two Lives is her first novel.