Welcome to the happy-go-lucky world of 19-year-old Daniel Brownlow as he travels abroad after leaving school. Things ’just happen’ to Dan, a Seventies teenager with a blue Mohican and the nickname ’Madness’.
In Overland – Richard Collins’ impressive follow-up to his debut novel The Land as Viewed from the Sea – Daniel’s journey to experience life heads in unexpected directions. Waiting for a bus he meets 44-year-old Oliver, a powerful man with a mysterious past, who needs his help. Dan agrees to spend 'a couple of hours’ helping Oliver to catch up with his wife, who has just walked out on their family holiday, taking their car and two young children and heading home.
What follows is a modern day Odyssey for both men; a journey home which swings from humour to terror, frustration to enlightenment, as they battle with events, themselves and Oliver’s former girlfriend, Caroline. Collins depicts with great delicacy the growing friendship between the two men at different stages of life’s journey.
This rich, deft, second novel again displays Collins’ precise imagery of landscape, from Europe’s snow-covered mountains to flat roads and cities and down to the coast, revealing the Aberystwyth-based former farm worker’s affinity with the land. Overland is a compulsive read as, like Dan, the reader needs to see the book through its unexpected, sometimes enjoyable, sometimes horrific, twists and turns, to its final destination.
Richard Collins has been a farm labourer, gardener and estate worker. He lives with his family in west Wales and teaches at the Institute of Rural Studies in Llanbadarn. His first novel, the love story The Land as Viewed from the Sea, received much critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Whitbread and Welsh Book of the Year prizes in 2005.