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Everything changes for rural lad Emmett Farmer when a gloriously grouchy wise woman compels him to be her bookbinding apprentice. While this line of work is generally shrouded in superstitious fear, Emmett is shocked when his mentor explains that they “don’t make books to sell, boy. Selling books is wrong”. Rather, their gothically intriguing trade involves binding unwanted memories into books: ”Whatever people can’t bear to remember. Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any more harm”. Most clients are wealthy; well-to-do gentlemen who have their servants and wives bound so they forget what wrongs their masters and husbands have done to them. No wonder then, that Emmett is horrified to discover a book bearing his own name, and so a tempestuous tangle of secrets unfurls.
The novel is also fragrantly spiced with witty references to literary history and the novel as an art form: “It makes one wonder who would write them [novels]. People who enjoy imagining misery, I suppose. People who have no scruples about dishonesty”. Yet through the duplicity of her exquisitely crafted characters, and luminous storytelling, this novel’s author reveals truths of the human spirit in a most entertaining and absorbing fashion.
Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.
He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.
In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.
Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.
THE BINDING is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
What a spell-binding book this is! Plus its location of Castleford is not far from where I live in West Yorkshire, so had added interest for me. Full review
The Binding is something special, a book that will stay with me. It's complex, clever and absolutely stunning with a powerful love story at its heart. Full review
An emotionally involving read with plenty of twists and turns that makes you think about the nature of memory and fiction. Full review
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
|Publication date:||10th January 2019|
|Publisher:||The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Star Books,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|