If I Had Two Lives
Abbigail N. Rosewood

Book cover image

Narrated By: Emily Woo Zeller

Duration: 8 hours and 55 minutes

What to expect

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, If I Had Two Lives 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?


Fiction: general and literary, Fiction: general and literary, Fiction: general and literary

Listen to a sample

“A harrowing, wondrously constructed story of how life is lived today.”

Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author

“With precision and dexterity, Rosewood has woven together a tale of staggering artistry, devastation, compassion, and social awareness.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

“The novel poignantly conjures the difficulties of reconciling the present with ‘an ungraspable history.’”

New Yorker

“A lyrical, exquisitely written novel that delves into ugliness in the most beautiful way.”

New York Journal of Books

“A poignant tale of loneliness and love.”


“A stunning, totally original tale by a master storyteller.”