Welcome to Overland! Where the California sun shines down on synthetic grass and plastic oranges bedeck the trees all year round. Steam billows gently from the chimney tops and the blue tarpaulin lake is open for fishing…
Hollywood set-designer George Godfrey has been called on to do his patriotic duty and he doesn’t believe in half-measures. If he is going to hide an American aircraft plant from the threat of Japanese aerial spies he has an almighty job on his hands. He will need an army of props and actors to make the Lockheed factory vanish behind the semblance of a suburban town. Every day, his “Residents” climb through a trapdoor in the factory roof to shift model cars, shop for imaginary groceries and rotate fake sheep in felt-green meadows.
Overland is a beacon for the young women labouring below it: Queenie, dreaming of movie stardom while welding sheet metal; Kay, who must seek refuge from the order to intern “All Persons of Japanese Ancestry”. Meanwhile, George’s right-hand Resident, Jimmy, knows that High Command aren’t at all happy with the camouflage project...
With George so bewitched by his own illusion, might it risk confusing everybody – not just the enemy?
Overland is a book like no other -- to be read in landscape format. Based on true events, it is a novel where characters' dreams and desires come down to earth with more than a bump, confronting the hardships of life during wartime. As surreal and playful as it is affecting and unsettling, no-one other than Graham Rawle could have created it.
Rawle cut his teeth as an artist and designer and this sparky, inventive novel betrays his pedigree ... So appealing. Having arranged his stage-flats and his harum-scarum performers, Rawles manages to make them all feel of value.
One of the most innovative artist-writers we have
Rawle has a vivid visual imagination
This is a beautiful book, not just in terms of its design, but in its moral integrity. A lesser writer would have made it all satire, and yet here there is much humanity and empathy. It takes Graham Rawle several years to compose his books; they are wholly worth the wait
Graham Rawle, the talented writer-artist, is back with another innovative work that fearlessly experiments with form and style. Written in a landscape format, the book takes place in two worlds—the Over and the Under. This surreal and fantastical world hovers above California in 1942. Overland is intricate, playful and vigorous—an experience to relish.