Review of Overland – a novel; Mark Stephen Levy; Zorba Publishers 2011; pp 254
– Shana Susan Ninan
Mark’s Overland is one book after reading which I felt like picking up my backpack and heading to the hills for an adventurous journey. The saying that the journey matters more than the destination cannot be truer than in the story narrated by him. The author leads the readers’ interest into his novel by an oft-repeated and overused proverb – All’s fair in love and war – but then, this line reveals one of the basic tenets that bind the two things. When you’re in love, you’d go to any extent, take up any fair/unfair means to reach your lover or to establish your relation. The same goes for war: a dedicated soldier would try his hand at anything to win the war. Ultimately, it’s your determination to win that helps you in love and war.
With the Soviet-Afghan occupation of the 80’s and the subsequent war as the background, Mark sketches the lives of three people – Danny, Emily and Heather. The trio is tied to each other by distance, time and love. Danny’s hot pursuit of Heather, on the ride to Kathmandu is etched with emotions. He goes in search of her after she breaks off their relationship on a piece of paper. Not able to reconcile with the fact that years of friendship and memories can be wiped with a few words, Danny the medical student goes in search of her.
He does find her only to lose her again. But this time, the two have realised that they do not belong to each other. There are a lot of things happening – Danny gets stuck in the Soviet-Afghan war, he works for a war hospital in Kabul, meets someone from his past, and, not to mention, undergoes a complete change of outlook!
Mark has scripted the climax of Overland with grace and thought. At times, you feel like turning the pages just to know what happened to a certain him or her. This pleasing story will leave you with good memories to cherish.