Too furious to visit his hospitalized brother, who killed two teenagers while driving drunk, Thibault slips into a different room, setting in motion a cascade of events that will test his ability to love.
Instead of mending fences with his brother, teetotaler—or, rather, pineapple-juice guzzling—Thibault finds himself with a complete stranger. Reading the chart at the foot of her bed, ecology consultant Thibault discovers that Elsa has been comatose for five months, the victim of a glacial mountaineering accident. What no one knows, however, is that Elsa is waking up. Although she cannot speak, move, or even see yet, she can hear, and she’s regaining enough chemical balance to feel real emotions. She’s been bored listening to her few visitors: her sister always tells her about the latest in a string of boyfriends before succumbing to their amorous attentions in Elsa’s room; her mother weeps; her father rarely comes; and her doctors discuss her as if she were an object. But this new person instinctively does everything to coax the comatose back to life: he visits often, speaking to her as if she were awake, and touches her—he even naps on her bed and brings his best friend’s infant daughter, whose voice and caress delightfully overwhelm Elsa. Elsa has a new reason to fight for her life, but she’d better make progress soon before the doctors unplug her ventilator. Thibault, strangely enough, seems to be falling in love. That’s where the discomfort begins in Prix Nouveau Talent winner Avit’s debut novel. As the chapters alternate between Elsa’s and Thibault’s perspectives, the reader knows that Elsa’s beginning to have feelings for Thibault, but he sees only a comatose woman. Avit demands that the reader suspend a little too much disbelief, as Thibault not only finds the unresponsive Elsa attractive, but also allows her to become the center of his life and dreams.
A sometimes-uncomfortable “Sleeping Beauty.”