Imagine the worst loss you could experience. Now imagine that same tragedy transmitted in every newspaper, every news show and streamlined all over the Internet for all to see. Such is the plight of Eve Miller, the main character of Aria, a novel by Orange County author and Coast Magazine Editor at Large Susan Segal. Segal is also a professor of English at the University of Southern California, where she teaches editing and fiction writing.
As we find out in the first pages of Segal’s novel, Eve has lost her husband and two small children in a boating accident in the Pacific Ocean. Eve eventually ends up in an Australian hospital, where she becomes an international celebrity because of her survival story. While she is there, she also meets an aging opera singer named Isabel Stein, who convinces Eve to restart her life in New York with Isabel and her husband. Just as Eve begins her life once more, Isabel, motivated by jealousy for Eve’s fame and her relationship with Noah, a young composer living in the Stein house, plots something straight out of the opera.
Both moving and exciting, Segal’s novel focuses primarily on starting over in times of despair and learning how to live life again. Segal’s character Eve does so through opera.
“Opera is very melodramatic and over-the-top emotional,” Segal says, “and because Eve has been so shut down about what happened to her, she [purges her emotions through opera and] starts to heal that way.”
An underlying theme of the novel is the negative effects of the media.
“It’s also a commentary on how America makes celebrities of people who have accomplished absolutely nothing except to have something horrible happen to them,” Segal says.
Upon its original release, Segal’s novel received high praise. The New York Times called Aria “hypnotic,” “engrossing” and “pleasantly unpredictable.” It should be of no surprise, then, that Aria has been given new life. Through its program called NOOK First, Barnes & Noble is offering readers the opportunity to purchase Aria for NOOK at a very reasonable price. Segal’s book will be featured along with 13 other books for two weeks beginning January 14. Soon after, the book will be available for Kindle.