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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.
Closing date: 30/06/2021
`The Binding is a dark chocolate slice of cake with a surprising, satisfying seam of raspberry running through it. It is a rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped in them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding' Tracy Chevalier
`Truly spellbinding ... readers will sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages ... Like a wonderful meal made from a few simple ingredients: the feeling in your chest when you hold someone in your arms for the first time; the sight of a host of bluebells. In recent years, the state of the world has threatened to make us forget the simple pleasures of kisses and bluebells and thick novels that tell stories of heartbreak. Here is a book to help us remember' Guardian
`Intense, immersive ... A stirring, highly original piece of storytelling and world-making' Sunday Times
`With a twisting narrative that explores humans' darkest moments and morals, Collins has created a fascinating fantasy world that evokes the atmosphere of Sarah Waters' books with a nod to Philip Pullman. And, with a love story holding much of the story's emotion together, this is definitely a book you'll want to lose yourself to for hours on end' Stylist
`Part fantasy, part faux-history, part heart-in-your throat love story, it's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets The Miniaturist' Grazia
`More of an experience than a book, written with such grace and wisdom. Utterly brilliant' Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
`Pure magic. The kind of immersive storytelling that makes you forget your own name. I wish I had written it' Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said
`An original concept, beautifully written. Collins' prose is spellbinding' Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions
`A real treat ... gothic, imaginative and dark' The Times
`Beguiling ... Dark and atmospheric' i Paper
`Vivid ... magic' Naomi Novik, New York Times
Publication date: 26/12/2019
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
|Publication date:||26th December 2019|
|Publisher:||The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Genres:||Book Club Recommendations, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Diverse Voices,|
|Collections:||40 unmissable magic realist reads - “It’s real-life, but not as we know it”,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Bridget Collins was born in 1981 in Kent, England. She always wanted to be an actor, and trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after studying English at King's College, Cambridge, but after she graduated from drama school she found herself starting to write a novel as a way to distract herself when she wasn't working - and discovered that she loved it... Her first published novel, The Traitor Game, won the Branford Boase Award and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Since then she has published six more novels for teenagers. The Binding, her first adult novel, ...More About Bridget Collins