Another Life by Owen W Knight
I am pleased to be taking part in the tour for Another Life by Owen W Knight and run by Love Books Group. You can follow the tour here.
Oliver believes his life to be one of disappointment and failure. Haunted by the memory of a mysterious woman he encountered thirty years ago, and obsessed with finding her, he embarks on a journey embracing grief, hope, myths and legends to find her.
He is drawn into diverse worlds, from ancient rural beliefs and traditions to emerging medical science, as he and the reader are led to question the boundaries between dreams, reality and imagination.
On a spring morning, many years ago, I set off from my home in Essex to visit a friend who had moved to a village close to Stratford-upon-Avon. I had left before dawn and had chosen not to take the direct route. My plan was to visit some Cotswold villages to take photographs. Even as a child, I had a fondness for vernacular architecture, although of course, I would not have described it as such at the time.
I had another mission: to buy some books. I intended to visit a small independent printing company, the Walnut Tree Press. It was a new venture, founded two years earlier, and had quickly built a reputation for its small print runs of hand-printed books and its poetry imprint. Many of the books on their list were illustrated with engravings, by new and established artists, and had already become collectors’ editions. Some people bought them for their investment potential. I admired them both for their content and as well-crafted artefacts, as objects of beauty that combined interest and quality with appealing design.
I had spent hours browsing their catalogue. It was difficult to make a final decision on which to buy. Once I had produced a shortlist, I could have placed an order, either by post or telephone (this was in the days before the Internet). I was hesitant to do so; I wanted to hold them in my hands and to turn the pages, feeling the quality of the paper, to touch and smell them before confirming my purchase. They were expensive, understandably, although would no doubt hold their value, in the unlikely event I should ever need to sell.
The press was located in a small village. I had not telephoned to ask whether it would be open. Such was my indecision as to whether to spend what was to me at that time a large sum of money on inessential items. By leaving it to chance, the acquisition, or otherwise, would be resolved by destiny. I was, after all, just passing through on my journey to another place.
The village was not as I thought it would be. The single main street was narrow, with half a dozen lanes leading from either side. There were no shops and, unusually for a village in those days, no inn. Many of the cottages were of a similar design. Some were empty and falling towards dereliction. I had the impression that they formed all or part of a collection of workers’ cottages, from an estate that was in the process of being sold or dissolved, its owners’ dynasty at an end.
Owen W Knight is a writer of contemporary and speculative fiction. His works include Another Life, described as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life for the 21st Century’ and The Invisible College Trilogy, an apocalyptic dystopian conspiracy tale for young adults, described as ‘1984 Meets the Book of Revelation’.
Owen was born in Southend-on-Sea at a time when children spent their days outdoors, creating imaginary worlds that formed the basis of their adventures and social interaction.
He has used this experience to create a world based on documented myths, with elements of dystopia, mystery and science fiction, highlighting the use and abuse of power and the conflicts associated with maintaining ethical values.
Owen lives in Essex, close to the countryside that inspired his trilogy.