Isabella Hammad - The Parisian & Abbigail Rosewood - If I Had Two Lives

Upcoming Event
Friday, May 3, 2019 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm


In her expansive and beautifully written first novel, Hammad, winner of The Paris Review’s prestigious Plimpton Prize, draws on her family’s story to recount several decades of Palestinian history through the experiences of one man. When the novel opens in 1914, Midhat Kamal, son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, is about to leave home to study medicine in France. While he’s been steeped in French culture, he feels out of place abroad, despite falling in love with his mentor’s daughter. But when he returns to Palestine, he finds it changed by the influx of European Jews. As he struggles to understand the new political and class alignments, Hammad deftly paints a portrait of a tumultuous era, tracing the effects of British rule and the Arab fight for independence.


The protagonist of Rosewood’s powerful and haunting first novel—excerpts of which won first place in the Writers Workshop of Asheville Literary Fiction Contest—grew up in a military encampment in Vietnam; closed out by her emotionally distant mother, she gravitated to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp. When she immigrates to America, rather than finding a new life, she’s drawn to people who resemble these first friends. Only when she has a child of her own and returns to Vietnam can she begin to understand and free herself from the forces that shaped her. Rosewood, who was born in Vietnam and lived there until she was twelve, writes with elegant spare prose that heightens the story’s emotional intensity.

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fiction & Poetry
The Parisian Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802129437
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - April 9th, 2019

If I Had Two Lives Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609455217
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Europa Editions - April 9th, 2019

Not Signed or Personalized