If Only it Were True

Marc Levy

270 pages Original publisher: Original Publisher: Editions Robert LaffontCommercial Fiction

“Simply magic” – New York Post

Arthur has had a long day. He returns to his new home in San Francisco, where packing boxes lie strewn across the living room floor. He musters the energy to clear them away. Satisfied, exhausted, he runs a bath, puts on the radio, and sinks back, surrendering himself to the dulcet tones of Peggy Lee. Suddenly he hears fingers clicking to the beat of the music. He must be imagining it. Yet the sound continues, clear and distinct. He climbs out of the bath and follows the noise to a closet. He opens the door only to find a woman sitting there – clicking her fingers.

Arthur assumes that his business partner has set up some sort of practical joke. He asks the intruder to leave immediately so that he can get some sleep. The woman is stunned: not only is Arthur still naked, but more importantly, he can see her. Arthur is losing his sense of humour. Grabbing a towel he tells the woman that of course he can see her, that the joke is over and that now, she really must leave. The woman, Lauren, is already sitting on the floor in Arthur’s living room (how did she get there so fast, without him even noticing her go past?) explaining to Arthur that she has been wondering around in spirit, invisible to everyone for the past six months. She explains that her body is in hospital, in the intensive care unit, in a coma, ever since a car accident. She came to Arthur’s apartment as she had nowhere else to go, this was her home before the accident.

Arthur has rented the apartment from her mother who was giving up hope of her daughter ever recovering. Arthur’s patience is running out: to get rid of this mad woman with her senseless ramblings, he agrees to take her to the hospital, where he hopes he can leave her in safe hands. Lauren takes Arthur to see her body, attached to the life-support machine. Arthur puts his arm around Lauren, trying to comfort her in her madness (obviously the body belongs to her twin sister.) It is only when a nurse walks in and asks Arthur if he has something wrong with his arm that he realizes for the first time that, strange as it may seem, Lauren really is invisible to everyone but him.

A couple unlike any other in a situation even they can’t believe…this is a love story impossible to forget.