The Bookbinder of Jericho The Bookbinder of Jericho

The Bookbinder of Jericho

    • 4.3 • 282 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

What is lost when knowledge is withheld?

In 1914, when the war draws the young men of Britain away to fight, it is the women who must keep the nation running. Two of those women are Peggy and Maude, twin sisters who work in the bindery at Oxford University Press in Jericho. Peggy is intelligent, ambitious and dreams of going to Oxford University, but for most of her life she has been told her job is to bind the books, not read them. Maude, meanwhile, wants nothing more than what she has. She is extraordinary but vulnerable. Peggy needs to watch over her.

When refugees arrive from the devastated cities of Belgium, it sends ripples through the community and through the sisters' lives. Peggy begins to see the possibility of another future where she can use her intellect and not just her hands, but as war and illness reshape her world, it is love, and the responsibility that comes with it, that threaten to hold her back.

The Bookbinder of Jericho is a story about knowledge - who makes it, who can access it, and what is lost when it is withheld. In this beautiful companion to the international bestseller The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams explores another little-known slice of history seen through women's eyes. Intelligent, thoughtful and rich with unforgettable characters.

Fiction & Literature
28 March
Affirm Press
Hachette Australia Pty Ltd

Customer Reviews

rhitc ,

Plucky binders

The author is British born but now calls Australia home. She writes both fiction and non-fiction, and is best known for her last novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words (2021).
‘Bookbinder’ is a sequel of sorts to ‘Dictionary.’ The setting, once again, is Oxford, not the scriptorium this time but Clarendon Press, one of the imprints of Oxford University Press named for the street on which it is located. The area of Oxford is Jericho. Hence, the book title. But I digress.
The First World War is under way. Men are signing up, and dying, in droves. Women’s work, as they say, is never done. Peg and Maude are teenage sisters who fold, gather and sew book pages together. Peg has ambitions for a more fulfilling life but feels duty bound to look after her sister following the death of their mother. Maude the sister is a tad neurodivergent in today’s money, although not as “simple” as she appears to those disinclined to look very hard, i.e. most people. The girls live on a narrowboat on Oxford Canal. Their aunt Tilda, the outspoken actress/suffragette from ‘Dictionary,’ livens things up when she comes to visit from London. Tilda volunteers to help care for injured soldiers. Peg does too, which leads to a romance with one who is hospitalised in Oxford. Meanwhile, Maude pals up with resettled Belgian refugees, one in particular. Yada, yada. The end.
The historical detail is impressive, as is the writing style, which evokes the period well. The narrative is slow moving, but there’s a good balance between plot and character development. I liked this better than ‘Dictionary.’

jojo12397651479 ,

Bit traumatic

Good characterisation, focused a bit too much on the personal trauma of WWI

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