Constellations of Eve
Abbigail Nguyen Rosewood
Texas Tech University Press 2022
In her mind-bending novel, “Constellations of Eve,” Vietnamese-American Abbigal Nguyen Rosewood shuffles the lives of her characters in three installments. But the open-minded reader will be rewarded, because Rosewood’s introspection into human fantasies, despairs and desires, in a philosophical way, is unexpected for such a young author.
… a remarkable and an imaginative novel.
She writes, just before Eve, the main character, plunges over a bridge to her death, “Souls were echoes that galloped from one cosmic time to the next … another way to rearrange life’s fortunes and dodge its fatal mistakes.” Each of Eve’s three lives are foretold with Tarot Card. It’s a chance to live many times until “she gets it right.”
In the first Tarot card entitled, The Mute Sculpture, Eve is an artist obsessed with sketching her best friend Pari, a flawlessly beautiful model. After college, Eve marries Liam and they have a son they name Blue. In this calamitous segment, Liam is sexually captivated with Eve’s sketches of Pari, and Blue has a fatal accident. Unable to accept accept Blue’s death, Eve sculpts a look-a-like of Blue, and her and Liam pretend it is their real child.
In the next episode, In Soft Shackle, Eve is again an artist, but it is her friend Pari who is married to Liam, and they have a child named Blue. Eve and Pari have a private and odd relationship, depending on each other emotionally and financially, while Liam lusts after Eve. But he is also determined to take care of Pari, who suffers various episodes of mental trauma.
The concluding episode,“Being Eve,” introduces anEve as a young child frightened by the world around her. Her mother gifts Eve a ceramic doll to calm her down, and Eve names her doll, Pari. As she grows into her teen years, she meets a boy named Liam, who doesn’t think she is odd for still carrying around her doll. Their relationship is honest and exotic, they marry and soon expect a child they will name Blue.
Rosewood’s poetic and intelligent prose delivers a remarkable and an imaginative novel. And a special gratitude should be extended to the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network which in collaboration with Texas Tech University Press for publishing her book.
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