If I Had Two Lives (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

If I Had Two Lives asks some potent questions. What is the best way to love another being? What defines a family? How do our earliest alliances direct us throughout life? In elegant prose this powerful novel follows the journey of a Vietnamese girl growing to adolescence in a military camp, her solitary immigration to America and her ultimate trip back to Vietnam with her own little girl. Read this debut for unforgettable lessons in kinship.

— Nancy Scheemaker


This luminous debut novel follows a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States - and her necessary return to her homeland.

As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her 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 native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth - and recover her identity.

An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?

About the Author

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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781609455217
ISBN-10: 1609455215
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Pages: 240
Language: English
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