THE BREAKOUT SENSATION
SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
SHORTLISTED FOR FOYLES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
‘Brilliant’ Joanna Cannon
‘Magic’ Erin Kelly
‘Immersive’ Sunday Times
‘Gorgeous' Stella Duffy
‘Astounding’ Anna Mazzola
Emmett Farmer is a binder’s apprentice. His job is to hand-craft beautiful books and, within each, to capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory.
If you have something you want to forget, or a secret to hide, he can bind it – and you will never have to remember the pain it caused.
In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and secrets – are meticulously stored and recorded.
Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of the volumes has his name on it.
‘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
About the author
Bridget Collins trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after reading English at King's College, Cambridge. She is the author of seven acclaimed books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Binding, her first adult novel, was a no. 1 Sunday Times bestseller.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Beautifully imagined with sumptuous descriptive passages, The Binding follows young Emmett Farmer on an adventure of epic proportions. Training to become a mystical Bookbinder, Emmett learns to bind, protect and even erase people’s memories. Within this bombastic coming-of-age story, we encounter forbidden love, dark secrets and rows upon rows of dusty leather-bound books. Emmett’s sacred calling has an alluring whiff of Harry Potter’s own magical destiny—and we think Hogwarts fans will love this gloriously mysterious world.
Collins's solid first adult novel (following several YA novels) is a haunted, Dickensian fantasia. At the story's outset, teenage Emmett is a farmer's son in an alternate England at an indeterminate point in the past whose mind is riddled with gaps due to an unspecified illness. He receives a letter that calls him for an apprenticeship with a bookbinder, Seredith, who's reputed to be a witch. Emmett quickly discovers that Seredith is not your run-of-the-mill bookbinder: she draws traumatic memories out of people's minds and hides them away in books, thereby removing the memories from their minds. The first client Emmett meets is a man named Lucian Darnay; their encounters unsettle and even enrage both of them, but neither knows why. Emmett eventually discovers there is a book with his name on it, and it holds an essential secret about him. The relationship between Emmett and Lucian plays out satisfyingly, but the novel suffers from portentous conversations and a few plot points that the characters don't realistically react to. Emmett is a YA protagonist, too sullen, reluctant, wrapped in victimhood. This is an enjoyable novel for readers of any age, but the story remains YA at its heart.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Captured from the beginning
Absolutely excellent read. The faux history and fantasy combined together and the inclusion of a forbidden love with the two lovers forced to forget each one existed. I noticed some have commented on the ending that it was flat but I am hoping that there will be a sequel and that’s why it has been left on an ambiguous note...?
Full of yearning and dramatic tension; I didn't want it to end!
Not what I expected
I’ve enjoyed aspects of this book. The plot twists are unusual and definitely unexpected. However the conclusion felt a little lack lustre. Still worth a read as it gave a mystical side to the standard historical fiction books!