A literary mystery about translation and the nature of knowledge. Jack, a subtitler and language buff, finds an old manuscript hidden in the crypt of a hail-damaged church. It’s written in a strange hand in an unknown alphabet and language, and something about it promises great secrets. As he tracks its history over the centuries, its character changes. It’s a code or a lost language, a language of perfect expression, or something much stranger.
Jack’s girlfriend, Beth, is trying to solve the mystery of her own life in the aftermath of a family tragedy. She reaches out for Jack, but his deepening obsession with the manuscript leads him away from her. His search for an ancient hidden truth isolates him from the only truth he has.
An early draft was runner-up for the 2001 Australian/Vogel award. It will be published in Australia in June 2007 as A Little Rain on Thursday, in the United Kingdom in July 2007 as Vellum, and in Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, Greece and the Czech Republic once it’s been translated. The picture is from the Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious manuscript that has baffled all kinds of clever types for years and is now kept in the Beinecke Collection at Yale.