First novel, a bestseller in France at 160,000 copies: a variation on the love-after-death story that made the film Ghost so popular.
ER intern Lauren Kline has a road accident, her old Triumph skidding on rain-greasy asphalt, and winds up back at her own San Francisco hospital in what looks like an irreversible grade-four coma. She lies abed for six months before her detached spirit, visiting the old apartment kept up by her mother, meets its new tenant. Arthur, an architect who has just been sent packing by his girlfriend, opens a closet one day, and finds Lauren’s spirit just sitting there. She’s been wandering around for the past half year, and she’s quite lonely because no one sees her. But Arthur does; he can even touch her. Gosh, what could possibly happen after this meet-cute? Well, it does. Arthur and Lauren become lovers in romantic San Francisco. But Arthur’s best friend, Paul, thinks his buddy is bonkers, especially when he gets roped into helping Arthur kidnap Lauren’s body from the hospital when her mother decides to pull the plug and let her die. (Presumably, this would not be good for Lauren’s new love-life.) The story's best scene is the hospital kidnapping, with Arthur in a doctor’s jacket being called to help out a dying diabetic. The rest, set on Carmel’s oceanside, is flower-strewn, lyrical, and immensely predictable. Levy’s prose is no better than his plotting: his informational sentences display almost no sense of the urgencies of language or strivings for expression.
What can you say when French rationalists take this pancake-batter to heart? Will moviemad, dough-brained Americans do likewise? Projected gross: $$$.