Overland is an experimental work of multimodal fiction in book form, in which a little-known historical narrative relating to Burbank, California, during World War Two, provides the basis for graphic and textual experimentation in the context of dual narrative page formatting. Designed to be read with its spine aligned horizontally rather than vertically, Overland’s parallel narratives play out simultaneously above and below the page gutter, which is established as a physical and metaphorical demarcation line between two territories. Overland builds on Rawle’s practice-based research, spanning a career of over thirty years, in which he explores, exposes and reconfigures the codes and conventions of literary fiction design by using graphic elements to create sub-textual indicators within the narrative. Investigating how readers engage visually with text-only narratives, in Overland, Rawle challenged graphic conventions in fiction publishing by using the page design as a critical narrative element. This typographic innovation orientates the reader spatially within a narrative in which characters and their stories migrate between the bright utopian world of Overland (above) and the dark underworld of industry and war (below). As in Rawle’s previous experimental works, notably ‘Woman’s World’ (2005) and ‘The Card’ (2012), an unorthodox narrative delivery challenges readers to rethink how they read, absorb and learn from novels. Through experiments that fused textual meaning with metatextual features, Rawle discovered, for example, new ways of delivering dramatic irony and mystery. The relationship between the two interwoven strands of the novel created using these techniques tested the value that is added to a multi-narrative novel through visual communication. Overland was published as a work of literary fiction by Chatto & Windus in 2018, and has been presented in both public and academic lectures post-publication.
|Type||Experimental multimodal literary fiction|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Mar 2018|