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Authors: Guillaume Musso

The Girl on Paper

BOOK: The Girl on Paper
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The Girl on Paper

Guillaume Musso

Translated by Emily Boyce
and Anna Aitken

For my mother

 

What is the point of books, if not to bring us closer to real life, if not to make us all the more eager to live it?

Henry Miller

Contents

Title Page
Dedication
Epigraph
Prologue
1: The house by the sea
2: Two friends
3: A man possessed
4: The inside world
5: Shards of paradise
6: The day I met you
7: Billie in the moonlight
8: She stole my life
9: The shoulder tattoo
10: The paper girl
11: The little girl from MacArthur Park
12: Rehab
13: The escapees
14: Who’s that girl?
15: The pact
16: Speed limits
17: Billie and Clyde
18: Motel Casa del Sol
19: Road movie
20: The city of angels
21: Love, tequila and a mariachi band
22: Aurore
23: Solitude
24: La cucaracha
25: The danger of losing you
26: The girl who came from nowhere
27: Always on my mind
28: Under pressure
29: When we’re together
30: The length of life
31: Roman roads
32: Fight evil with evil
33: Sticking together
34: The book of life
35: The heart test
36: The last time I saw Billie
37: My best friends’ wedding
38: Lilly
39: Nine months later …
About the Author
Copyright

Prologue

Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté

Margaret Atwood 

(
USA Today, 6 February 2008
)

ANGEL TRILOGY CAPTIVATES AMERICA

The tale of a doomed love affair between a young woman and her guardian angel has proved to be the literary sensation of the year. Here, the true story behind the phenomenon.

No one at Doubleday really believed in it. Yet the first novel of 33-year-old unknown Tom Boyd (original print run just 10,000 copies) has become one of the biggest bestsellers of the year in just a few months.
In the Company of Angels
,
the first volume of what is to be a trilogy of novels, has topped the bestseller lists for twenty-eight weeks. With sales of over 3 million copies in the United States, the novel is about to be translated and distributed in more than forty countries.

Set in a Los Angeles where romance meets fantasy, the novel tells the story of the forbidden love between Delilah, a young medical student, and Raphael, the guardian angel who has been watching over her since she was a child. But the supernatural framework is really just an excuse for the author to explore more emotive subjects such as rape, incest, organ donation and mental illness.

Just like Harry Potter and the Twilight series,
In the
Company of Angels
has found a receptive audience for its rich mythology. Boyd’s most committed readers have formed a community with its own moral codes and its own theories. Hundreds of websites dedicated to Tom Boyd’s fictional characters have already been set up. Known to be quiet and unassuming, the author is a teacher from the MacArthur Park neighborhood. Before he unexpectedly found fame, Boyd taught English to troubled teenagers at the local high school, where just fifteen years ago he himself was a pupil.

Following the success of his first novel, Boyd has quit teaching after signing a $2 million contract with Doubleday for the two remaining books in the trilogy.

*

(
Gramophone, 1 June 2008
)

FRENCH PIANIST AURORE VALANCOURT RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS AVERY FISHER PRIZE

On Saturday, the renowned 31-year-old pianist Aurore Valancourt was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. This highly sought-after honor comes with a monetary award of $75,000 and is given to a musician for his or her outstanding achievement in music.

Born in Paris on July 7, 1977, Aurore Valancourt is considered to be one of the most talented musicians of her generation.

A piano virtuoso

Valancourt received her classical training at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and was discovered in 1997 by the conductor André Grévin, who invited her to go on tour with him. This marked the beginning of her international career. She started performing regularly
with some of the world’s leading orchestras, but quickly became disillusioned with the elitism of the system. Without warning, Valancourt abruptly withdrew from the public eye in January 2003. She then embarked on a two-year round-the-world motorcycle tour which ended in Sawai Madhopur, India. Valancourt spent several months there, surrounded by the lakes and cliffs of the nearby national park.

In 2005, Valancourt relocated to Manhattan where she returned to the stage and the recording studio, but also became a passionate environmental activist. This brought her even more media attention and her fame spread beyond the music world.

Taking advantage of her natural good looks, Valancourt began to appear on the pages of fashion magazines (a glamorous spread in
Vanity Fair
, a slightly more revealing one in
Sports Illustrated
…) and became the face of a
well-known
brand of lingerie. This publicity turned Valancourt into the world’s highest-paid classical musician.

An eccentric and controversial star

Despite her youth, Valancourt is a highly accomplished pianist, but she is often criticized for being somewhat cold, especially when it comes to her Romantic repertoire.

Valancourt has always been quick to assert her independence and she is never afraid to do as she pleases. A ‘nightmare’ for concert organizers, she has become known for last-minute cancellations and diva behavior.

Valancourt’s off-stage personality is no different. A perpetual bachelorette, she claims not to be interested in any serious romantic attachment, preferring to live for the moment, which has resulted in no small number of conquests. Her high-profile flings with countless celebrities mean that she is the only classical musician
regularly to appear in the pages of celebrity gossip magazines, something that has raised a few eyebrows in more traditional music circles.

*

(Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2008)

AUTHOR OF ANGEL TRILOGY DONATES $500,000 TO LA HIGH SCHOOL

As his second novel,
The Memory of Angels
, rapidly climbs the bestseller lists, author Tom Boyd has donated half a million dollars to Harvest High School in Los Angeles, its principal announced today. As a teenager, Boyd attended the school, located in the underprivileged MacArthur Park neighborhood. After becoming a teacher himself, Boyd returned there to teach English, until the success of his book allowed him to resign his position.

When contacted by this newspaper, the author declined to confirm the donation. The fiercely private novelist, who rarely talks to the press, is said to be working on the third and final volume of his saga.

*

(
Stars News, 24 August 2008
)

GORGEOUS AURORE SINGLE AGAIN!

One man’s loss is another man’s gain. At 31, the pianist and model just announced she has split from her boyfriend, Spanish tennis pro Javier Santos, who she had been dating for several months.

So now it looks as if, after his impressive performance at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, the sports star will spend his well-deserved holiday in Ibiza with only his friends from Barcelona as company. As for his ex-Queen of Hearts, you can be sure she won’t stay single for long.

*

(
Variety, 4 September 2008
)

ANGEL TRILOGY TO BE MADE INTO A MOVIE

Columbia Pictures has just purchased film rights to the Angel Trilogy, Tom Boyd’s fantasy-romance saga.

Millions of readers have enjoyed the nail-biting suspense of the first two books of the trilogy,
In the Company of Angels
and
The Memory of Angels
.

Shooting of the film version of the first book is due to start in the near future.

*

From: [email protected]

Subject: Healing

Sent: September 12, 2008

To: [email protected]

 

Hello, Mr Boyd. I have been wanting to write to you for a long time now. My name is Patricia, I am 31 and bringing up my two children alone, following the death of my beloved husband who suffered from a brain tumour which gradually sapped his strength. His dying left me more devastated than I care to admit. We had so little time together… It was in the months following my husband’s death that I discovered your books.

I escaped into your stories, and when I had finished I finally felt I had regained some harmony in my life. In your novels, people often get the chance to turn their lives around and right their wrongs. All I hope for is the chance to love again, and find someone to love me back.

Thank you for giving me the courage to rebuild my life.

*

(
Paris Matin, 12 October 2008
)

AURORE VALANCOURT: GENUINE TALENT OR CELEBRITY FAKER?

The crowd was buzzing yesterday evening at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

The notoriety of the brilliant young musician continues to excite the curiosity of the media and the public.

The programme began with Beethoven’s
Emperor
concerto, followed by Schubert’s
Impromptus
, an enticing selection which nevertheless failed to deliver.

Although performed with flawless technique the concerto was soulless, lacking any lyrical quality. To be brutally frank, Aurore Valancourt is more a marketing product than the extraordinarily gifted pianist that the media makes her out to be. If it were not for her attractive physique and angelic features, she would be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill musician, because the ‘Valancourt Phenomenon’ in fact relies on a well-oiled media machine that has managed to turn an ordinary performer into an international idol.

Sadly her musical immaturity wasn’t enough to stop the audience, obviously taken in by her image, from giving her a standing ovation.

*

From: [email protected]

Subject: Extraordinary books

Sent: 0ctober 22, 2008

To: [email protected]

 

Hello, Mr Boyd. My name is Myra and I’m 14 years old. I live in the projects in LA, the ones you read about in the papers. I go to school in MacArthur Park and I went to your lecture that time you came to my school. I never thought I would get into reading. But your books were so exciting. I saved up to buy your second book, but I didn’t have enough money, so I went to Barnes & Noble every day until I finished it.

I guess I just want to say thanks.

*

(TMZ.com, 13 December 2008)

AURORE AND TOM TOGETHER AT KINGS OF LEON CONCERT?

The Kings of Leon played to a full house on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Forum. The pianist Aurore Valancourt and the writer Tom Boyd were spotted in the crowd… and it looks like their relationship is heating up. Boyd and Valancourt shared flirtatious glances, whispered in each other’s ears and put their arms around each other. These two are obviously more than friends. The photos speak for themselves. We’ll let you be the judge!

*

(TMZ.com, 3 January 2009)

AURORE VALANCOURT AND TOM BOYD’S JOGGING DATE

Fitness kick or romantic outing? Whatever the reason, Aurore Valancourt and Tom Boyd enjoyed a long run yesterday along the snow-covered paths of Central Park.

*

(
TMZ.com, 18 March 2009
)

AURORE VALANCOURT AND TOM BOYD APARTMENT HUNTING IN MANHATTAN

*

(
USA Today, 10 April 2009
)

TOM BOYD’S NEW BOOK DUE OUT LATER THIS YEAR

Doubleday announced yesterday that the last chapter in Tom Boyd’s saga is to be published this fall. Great news for the novelist’s enthusiastic fans.

Entitled
Mix-up in Heaven
, the last volume of the Angel Trilogy looks set to be one of the biggest books of the year.

*

(
Entertainment Today, 6 May 2009
)

TOM SEEKS PERFECT RING FOR AURORE

The writer recently spent three hours in Tiffany’s in New York trying to find the perfect ring for his girlfriend of several months.

According to the sales assistant,‘He seemed so in love, and was very anxious to find a ring that would really make her happy.’

*

From: [email protected]

Subject: Remembering a love affair

Sent: May 9, 2009

To: [email protected]

 

Dear Mr Boyd,

First of all, please forgive any spelling mistakes. I am Russian and my English is not so good. Your book was given to me as a gift by a man that I was in love with, who I met in Paris. When he gave me the book, all he said to me was: ‘Read it and you’ll understand.’ This man (his name was Martin) and I are no longer together, but your story reminded me of the bond we once had that made me so happy. When I read your books I can escape. Thank you if you are reading this message, and I wish you a happy life.

 

Svetlana

*

(Onl!ne, 30 May 2009)

AURORE VALANCOURT AND TOM BOYD SEEN FIGHTING IN RESTAURANT

*

(Onl!ne, 16 June 2009)

AURORE VALANCOURT: CHEATING ON TOM BOYD?

*

(
TMZ.com, 2 July 2009
)

AURORE VALANCOURT AND TOM BOYD: IT’S OVER!

The celebrity pianist, who has been romantically involved with the author Tom Boyd for several months, was spotted last week with James Bugliari, the drummer of rock band The Sphinx.

*

You will certainly have seen this video already; it’s received record numbers of hits on YouTube and Dailymotion and attracted scores of comments – some mocking, others more sympathetic.

The venue is the Royal Albert Hall in London during the Proms.

At the beginning of the clip, Aurore Valancourt walks onstage to a standing ovation. Dressed in a plain black dress with a discreet pearl necklace, she greets the orchestra and sits down at the piano. The opening chords of Schumann’s
Piano Concerto
fill the auditorium.

BOOK: The Girl on Paper
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