Sylvia Morton, a graphic artist at an LA design firm, develops mild depression and starts working from home. Her son Richard is away at school and her husband, Miles Harrison, an architect, is becoming distant. Fogged in by a pervasive ennui, she drifts through her life as if she were not part of it. Suffering from the dissociation that comes with depression, she starts to withdraw. A pile of cast off clothing gathers in the corner of her bedroom as if she’s preparing for a trip, except she doesn’t travel for business now. An unsettling feeling remains: that she doesn’t deserve her “wonderful life,” and duly noted— it’s not that wonderful. Despite all the trappings of success—expensive cars, beautiful home, gated community, meaningful careers—the couple drifts further apart.
Looking forward to reuniting with Nanz, an old friend from high school who has come to Burbank to work in the motion picture industry, Sylvia plans a weekend away at Spa Ojai. They’re looking forward to catching up on the past, but, while driving in an unseasonal August drizzle, a horrifying accident occurs.
Sylvia’s tether to reality completely frays as she descends into an intensely morbid guilt about the accident. The deal she makes is not with the devil—it’s only in her mind—that if she just doesn’t have to remember the accident and re-experience the mayhem, she will renounce everything. Devolving into a psychotic fugue before she morphs into her first of many identities, Sylvia makes one last call to Miles to tell him goodbye, and that he’ll never find her body. “I’m dead.”
Thus begins the transient global amnesia that will drive an odyssey of renunciation for a sin that was never committed. It was just an accident. Soon she will experience having her mind wiped as clean as a blackboard is of chalk; and her heart—of most emotions. Sylvia resurfaces as Vermillion Ducati, and the nadir of her grief and desolation is so profound it becomes a spiritual vortex with enough force to magnetize distant fragments of her eternal soul to her to help her heal.
One is that of a wise woman from the future who winds up in the body of Myrna Fox, a 68 year old woman in a Burbank hospital with a ‘No Code,’ on her medical directive. The other, is that of an aging colonist, Henry Banes Ransom from Gloucester, Virginia, in the 1770’s, who fell off his horse on the way home from an evening of whist and whiskey at a neighboring plantation. His head injury leaves him in a coma and as his attachment to this life thins his spirit slides through the ethers of time into the body of a 26 year old MIT grad student who was left for dead by drunken teenagers on a Labor Day weekend, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Ransom wakes up in Addison Gilbert Hospital some 240 years in the future.
Like friends who come through for one another, encounters with these two, bring something out from under V’s fragile resurfacing. An epiphany with which she reclaims her authentic eternal self for the first time, happens when terrifying walled off memories from her distant past show through like a poorly gessoed over canvas, still hinting at the original art underneath. The interplay between three separate lives of one soul, happening simultaneously will beckon us to give up every notion of the agreements that construct our reality; our concept of time, dimensions, and our judgements about the qualities of an individual that we call character.
Author's note, this novel comes with a companion playlist. You can use this or build your own on Spotify. Scenes with a music play-over give cues to the tune playing in the scene. You can click on the song and listen as you read. I gives a cinematic sense to the action.