Today I have the pleasure of featuring a rather strange but enticing set of books called The Knot-Shop Man by David Whiteland. Now this beautiful set was given to my son as a birthday gift a few years ago. We were enthralled with the detailing on the cover and the way the books were tied together with a rope, using a special knot. It’s not everyday you get to see such personalisation of books. Later, I found out that this bundle was created for its 10th anniversary by the author and publisher, David Whiteland. It sets the bar very high in terms of self-published books!
The Knot-Shop Man is a set of four books, each describing one child’s journey to tie a knot of fate. Written for smart children or thoughtful adults, it’s a story-knot of adventures told with the lyricism of a folk song and the matter-of-factness of a book of knots. Like all good folk stories or fairy tales, things are simple on the surface but, if you scratch deeper, complexity bleeds through.
There is no right or wrong order for these books. Water, Earth, Fire and Air: each story sends us on an adventure to find the fates tied to the visitors of the Knot Shop and under the Knot-Shop’s man’s tutelage, they endeavour to follow their own destinies and unravel their futures.
The Knot Shop rarely has any customers. A knot isn’t something most people (that is, most grown-ups) think they need to buy.
But if you’re a bright, perceptive kind of child, and if you’re in difficulty — maybe you need to find your sister after she has been abducted by pirates, or perhaps you want to seal a reckless promise a prince once made to you — then you’ll know that the knot-shop man can help. He can tie laces or parcels, he can play cat’s cradle or untangle your knotted kite strings . . . and, best of all, he knows how to tie the knots of fate.
Imagine a world where everything was tied to a fate or separated from it. Two dragons are in charge of keeping the fates in order, but, as with life, disorder tends to creep in. Now imagine trying to sort out these elemental knots and ensure they are attached in the right order. What could possibly happen when things go wrong?
I have to share an excerpt from the book of Water. It might not make complete sense, yet to some, it might be completely sensible. I will let you be the judge…
“There’s a myth – it’s an old myth and I for one don’t believe a word of it – that when the World was started, everything was either tied to a fate or separated from it. But there was one thing, just one thing, that was neither tied nor untied. In the end it came down to two dragons – the only two who knew the elemental knots – to try to sort it out. But the knots always slipped and tangled. The one dragon could not fully join this thing to anything else, nor could the other properly separate it. It defeated them both, and so the Neither-Nor came to be discovered: the one thing in the world that can be neither one way nor the other. The Neither-Nor: the one thing that even the cleverest of people can’t be certain about, and the stupidest of people can be right in not understanding, one way or the other. The Neither-Nor: the one thing that can’t be, and is.”
David Whiteland says these books are for clever children. I challenge adults to read them and find fault! The stories require you to extend your imagination, peruse the nearly impossible and enjoy the ride as each character enters a world that cannot be seen.
Links to his site can be found below.
To purchase your copies of The Knot-Shop Man, click on the link below