What do you do when you find a stranger in your closet; particularly when she's surprised that you can even see her -- and she can disappear and reappear at whim? What if she then tells you that her body is actually in a coma on the other side of town? Should you have her see a psychiatrist or should you consult one yourself? Or do you take a chance and believe in her, and allow yourself to be swept up in an extraordinary adventure? This is the beginning of the dilemma that Arthur, a young San Francisco architect, is faced with when he discovers Lauren in his apartment. Arthur is the only man who can share Lauren's secret, the only one who can see her, hear her, and talk to her when no one else so much as senses her presence. So when doctors prepare to end Lauren's physical care -- which would destroy the magical bond she and Arthur cherish -- he must find a way to save her. For, after all, it is only her love that can save him. "If Only It Were True" is a heartwarming love story impossible to forget, an adventure that is by turns breathtaking and hilarious -- a captivating tale that evokes the essence of romance and our boundless capacity to believe.
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Marc Levy lived in San Francisco for six years before returning to France to run an architectural firm. He divides his time between America and Europe. Just Like Heaven is his first novel and was an instant #1 bestseller in his homeland. Foreign rights have been sold in twenty-eight countries.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :
Arthur opened the door to the street-level garage with his remote control and parked his Saab. He climbed the outside staircase that led from the garage to his new third-floor apartment, swung the door shut with his foot, put his briefcase down, took off his coat, and collapsed onto the couch. Several cardboard boxes were still stacked in the living room, waiting to be unpacked. He had moved in only ten days ago, and he hadn't brought much with him -- only his draftsman's table, his work files, his CDs, and his art and architecture books. Only after his relationship with Carol Ann had finally, definitively fallen apart had he accepted that it was time for him to move on, to try to start living his own life again, rather than the somewhat tentative, temporary one he'd grafted onto hers.
He'd been lucky to find this apartment. An architect specializing in the restoration of homes, he was amazed by how comfortable he'd immediately felt when he'd entered this apartment. Whoever had designed this environment had a keen sense of life and had created a home of taste and charm -- and coming from Arthur, that was a supreme compliment. He hadn't had to change anything -- just fit his draftsman's table between the fireplace and the writing desk, buy some towels and linens and rudimentary kitchen supplies, and he'd had an instant home.
He changed his suit for a pair of jeans and began to unpack his books and CDs, arranging them alphabetically on the shelf by the fireplace. When he had finished, he stood back and contemplated his perfectly ordered collections. "I think I might be getting a bit obsessive," he said to himself.
He went to the bathroom, hesitated between a shower and a bath, finally opting for the bath. He started the water running, switched on the little radio sitting on the radiator next to the walk-in linen closet, undressed, and sank into the tub with a sigh.
As Peggy Lee sang "Fever" on 101.3 FM, Arthur dunked his head several times under the water. There was something odd about the acoustic quality of the song. He was surprised by the stereo effect, particularly since his radio had only one, crummy internal speaker. He sat up straight in the bath and listened carefully. It sounded as though the finger-snapping accompanying the tune came straight from the linen closet. Intrigued, he emerged from the water and crept over to investigate. The sound was becoming more and more distinct. He paused, took a deep breath, and abruptly threw open the doors. His eyes widened, and he stumbled back.
Huddled on the floor beneath the hangers sat a young woman, eyes closed, seemingly transported by the rhythm of the song, humming along and snapping her fingers.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, shocked, and amazed, all at once. "Who are you?"
The woman jumped and looked at him with wide, startled eyes. "You can see me?"
"Of course I can see you."
She seemed astonished that he should be looking at her. "You can hear me?"
He pointed out that he wasn't blind or deaf and asked again, "What are you doing here?"
"This is wonderful, amazing!"
Arthur saw nothing "wonderful" about the situation, although there was plenty that was "amazing." Increasingly irritated, he asked, "What, I repeat, are you doing in my bathroom closet?"
"I don't think you realize. Touch my arm."
He stood there nonplussed as she held out her arm.
"No, I won't touch your arm. What's going on here?"
She took Arthur's wrist and asked him if he felt it when she touched him. Greatly exasperated, he confirmed that he did indeed feel her touch, that he saw her, and that he heard her perfectly well. For the fourth time, he asked her who she was and what she was doing in his bathroom closet.
She ignored his question. "I just can't believe it. You can actually see me, hear me, and feel me. This is fabulous."
Arthur was in no mood for this game. "Okay, that's enough! What is this, a practical joke? A call girl from my partner as a housewarming gift?"
"Are you always this rude? Do I look like some sort of hooker?"
Arthur sighed. "No, you don't. You're just hiding in my closet in the middle of the night."
"And yet you're the one who's naked, not me."
Arthur, startled, grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist as he tried to compose himself.
"All right now, the joke is over, you can come out of there, go home, and tell Paul it was lame. Very, very lame."
She did not know Paul, she told him. "And could you please stop yelling. Other people may not be able to hear me, but I can hear perfectly well."
Arthur was much too tired for this nonsense, and he wasn't going to play twenty questions trying to figure out what was really going on.
"Listen," he told the young woman before him, "it seems you're quite disturbed, but it's not my problem. I've just finished unpacking, and I'm very tired and I really need some peace and quiet. Please, please stop whatever game you're playing and go home. And come out of that closet, for God's sake!"
The young woman looked at him sadly. "I'm afraid it's not that easy. I haven't quite gotten the knack yet, though it's gotten better the last few days."
"What's 'gotten better' the last few days?"
"Shut your eyes, I'm going to try."
"To try what?"
"To get out of this closet. That's what you want, isn't it? So shut your eyes, I have to concentrate. And don't say anything for a couple of minutes."
"This is completely insane!"
"Oh, please. Just shut up and close your eyes. Then we won't have to spend the night here."
Not knowing what else to do, Arthur obeyed. Two seconds later he heard a voice coming from the living room.
"Not bad. I just missed the couch, but still, not bad at all."
He hurried from the bathroom and saw the young woman sitting on the floor in the middle of the room. She acted as though nothing were out of the ordinary.
"I'm glad you've kept the rugs, but I can't stand that painting on the wall," she said, indicating his college attempt at abstract expressionism.
"I'll hang whatever painting I want, wherever I want. I don't know how you do this place-shifting business. And really, I don't care. I simply want to go to bed. So if you won't tell me who you are, fine. I don't need to know. I beg you, just go home!"
"I am home! Or at least, I was. It's all so confusing."
Arthur shook his head. "Listen, I moved in here ten days ago. This is my home, not yours."
"Yes, I know, you're my postmortem tenant. If you think about it, it's really rather funny."
"Funny? What do you mean, 'postmortem tenant'? The owner of this apartment is a woman in her seventies, and very much alive -- or at least that's what the Realtor told me."
"She'd love to hear that," she said sarcastically. "She's only sixty-two, although she has aged a lot recently. She's my mother, and for the time being she's my legal guardian. I'm the actual owner."
"You have a legal guardian?"
"Yes. In my present condition, I'm having a tough time signing papers."
"Are you under hospital care?"
"That's putting it mildly."
"Well, they must be very worried about you. Which hospital is it? I'll drive you there."
"Hey, you don't think I'm some nutcase that just escaped from an asylum?"
"Because first you call me a whore and now a nutcase. That's a bit much for a first meeting."
"Listen, I really don't care who you are: whore, nutcase, you could even be some fugitive from Bewitched. I'm exhausted and I just want to go to bed and get some sleep."
She ignored him and kept on with her questions. "How do I seem to you?"
"Seem? Disturbed, you seem very disturbed," he said flatly.
"I mean physically. How do I look?"
Arthur hesitated before describing her. He told himself, maybe if he went along with her charade for just a bit, he could get rid of her. And she really was quite striking, he realized as he concentrated on her appearance. "You're rather pretty," he admitted. "You're about average height, rather slender -- long legs, I see. Your eyes -- " He stopped short. Her eyes were remarkable -- an indeterminate color that seemed to be every color at once, almost like the eyes of a newborn. But he wasn't going to get caught up in this folly. "You have a full mouth, pale skin, a pleasing face whose sweetness is in total contrast to your behavior. Your hair is a bit of a mess and could use a good combing out, but it's quite a nice color."
She laughed. "If I asked for directions to Market Street, would you list every building I'd pass on the way?"
"I'm sorry, I don't get the joke."
"Do you always describe women so minutely?"
Arthur felt his anger rising. He was fed up. "How did you get in here? Do you have copies of the keys?"
"I don't need keys. It's so amazing that you can see me. A miracle. I just can't get it. And your description of me was really very kind, very sweet." She patted the floor beside her. "Please sit down, here beside me. What I have to tell you is not easy to understand, impossible to accept. But if you will listen to my story -- if you are willing to trust me -- then maybe in the end you'll believe me. And it's very important that you, in particular, should believe me. For without knowing it, you are the only person in the world I can share my secret with."
Arthur sighed, it seemed he had no choice. He must hear what this young woman had to say. So, even though all he wanted was to sleep, he sat down next to her and listened to the most improbable tale he had ever heard in his life.
Her name was Lauren Kline, and she claimed to be a doctor, a medical resident. She told him she had had a car accident six months ago, a serious one, when her steering system failed. "I've been in a coma ever since. No, don't start thinking yet; just let me explain." She had no memory of the accident. She had regained consciousness in the recovery room. Overwhelmed by the strangest sensations, she could hear everything going on around her, but could neither move nor speak. At first she attributed this to anesthesia. "But I was wrong; hours went by, days, and I couldn't wake up physically." She continued to perceive everythin...
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Description du livre Atria, 2000. Hardcover. État : New. New item. May have light shelf wear. N° de réf. du libraire 161210020
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Description du livre Atria, 2000. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0743406176
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Description du livre Atria, 2000. Hardcover. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire 0743406176
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Description du livre Atria, 2000. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire P110743406176
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