Author: Adam De Collibus| Genre: Travel Fiction | Pages: 256
When William Abney (a war journalist) accepts a job offer with London Dove, local newspaper, little does he know that his life is going to change forever. Traversing through the unknown desert stretches of the middle east to finish his project as a photographer, Abney becomes witness to much sinister things, and it won’t be long before he has to fight for his life and of those he’s grown fond of, in his caravan through the Sahara.
First things first, and here, I’d like to affirm again what I have done several times in the past – it is the packaging that sells more than the product. The minimalistic yet attractive cover totally enticed me to pick up this book despite the fact that this was a debut novel. Well, the cover and the title. The word ‘Caravan’ itself, exudes vivid wafts of adventure, and I like nothing better than a nice travel fiction on chilly November nights.
William, who is striving to make ends meet, after returning from WW1 facade, takes up a job as a photographer with a local newspaper in London, but soon realises the job is much more than what is given out to him by the paper’s owner – Reginald.
An alcoholic, Reginald seems a shady, unstable character, and the job he offers William is one to travel the Sahara and capture the stories of the desert, the culture, the locals, through his camera. The catch is – he gets paid only if he is ever able to return after the project ends in six months.
This book is William’s story. His journey into recognising who he is, testing the waters for how deep he can wade, challenging his fears, but most of all becoming the man he never thought he was – resolute. His journey through Morocco and later with the caravan that takes him into the heart of the desert, are all a part of one big fate that awaited him.
Through chance encounters with select locals, he learns and understands how different cultures thrive and enable life in the oddest of places. He falls in love with a gypsy woman; and this love changes the mood of the story subtly. He makes friends with the caravan leader, helps save the desert king, and encounters several life-threatening situations. All these transitions set the mood of the story and also flip it back and forth, time to time, so the story successfully strays away from being termed ‘predictable.’
Through all these transitions, I noted the salient transformation of the protagonist and the man he grows to be – from a paranoid English tourist on project work to a confident young man of substance and reliable character. It is almost as if by the end of the book, I was introduced to a new version of William, altogether. And this version, I really loved.
The settings and the descriptions of the same are so evocative that you don’t just read but travel in William’s steps through the lands he traverses. For this, I totally credit the author for his rich experiences gathered from his own traveling expeditions to 17 countries and the same reflects through his impeccable writing. These coupled together, along with the simplified yet graceful language, the prose makes for a memorable reading experience.
In a nutshell, Caravan is a beautiful story of a man’s journey leading him to his destiny; which does not imply a goal, but the ultimate transformation he goes through, and the imbibing message that gives off delicious fumes of significance of self-discovery and self-affirmation, that promise to stay long with you after you’ve finished reading the novel.
You can buy your copy of ‘Caravan’ by clicking on this link.
If you happen to read ‘Caravan’ or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.
P.S: I received a review copy from the author but the review remains unbiased.