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The binding : a novel / Bridget Collins.

By: Collins, Bridget.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : William Morrow, 2019Description: pages cm.ISBN: 9780062838094; 0062838091.Subject(s): Bookbinders -- Fiction | Books and reading -- Fiction | Magic -- FictionGenre/Form: Fantasy fiction.DDC classification: 823/.92 Summary: "In the tradition of Sarah Waters, Helene Wecker, and Jessie Burton, an atmospheric and mystery-laden historical novel set within a magical world where books are not stories but the repository of individual lives"-- Provided by publisher.
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Item type Current location Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Adult Book Phillipsburg Free Public Library
Adult Fiction New Books FIC COLLINS Checked out 07/05/2019 36748002435453
Total holds: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Proclaimed as "truly spellbinding," a "great fable" that "functions as transporting romance" by the Guardian, the runaway #1 international bestseller

"A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding." -- TRACY CHEVALIER

Imagine you could erase grief.

Imagine you could remove pain.

Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.


Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder--a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman's watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there's something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there's something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor's workshop rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends--and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.

An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books--and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.

"In the tradition of Sarah Waters, Helene Wecker, and Jessie Burton, an atmospheric and mystery-laden historical novel set within a magical world where books are not stories but the repository of individual lives"-- Provided by publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Kirkus Book Review

Collins' dystopian novel is set in an alternate England at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.In the absence of specific dates, this novel suggests its period with various clues: small farms, no plumbing, gaslight, horse-drawn carriages, factories but no trains. The backdrop is a Crusade that, indeterminate decades ago, caused books to be, if not entirely forbidden, then tightly regulated and socially taboo. Emmett is sent by his farmer parents to be apprenticed to an elderly Bookbinder named Seredith, who practices her craft in an isolated house near a marsh. Recently, Emmett suffered an illness which marked him as unfit for anything but binding, which, he rapidly learns, means more than handcrafting books. Customers come to Seredith to have their memories wiped of disturbing experiences through confessions she then enshrines in beautifully bound books and locks up. One such patron/patient is Lucian, a young gentleman who will figureor has figured; we won't know until latersignificantly in Emmett's life. There is a brisk underground trade in true bindings, as opposed to mere novels, and unscrupulous binders exploit this market. Among them is Mr. de Havilland, Seredith's son, who, after her suspicious death, appropriates her stock of secret bindings, which, like loaded guns, will make explosive appearances later. He also takes charge of Emmett. The middle section, in which Emmett is back on the farm with his parents and his sister, Alta, is a flashback in which we learn the source of Emmett's ailment and also more about the peasant culture that seems to hearken back to Britain's pre-Christian age. Except for the fact that a corrupt binder's wares play a role, the concluding section, told from Lucian's point of view, presents a mostly fact-based dystopia of Victorian aristocracy and its excesses. The worldview of this novel is bleak, but readers will not fail to appreciate the many sly analogies to the true-story-obsessed publishing world of today.Though set in an alternate universe, Collins' fictional world rings very true. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

New York Times Book Review

OF COURSE, books don't need to be turned into magical artifacts. They already are. Telepathy, mind control, time travel: These are all just exaggerations of the power books actually have. The ability to set your memories down for safekeeping (or for unsafekeeping, if the book you write falls into the wrong hands) is entirely real. The magic of Bridget Collins's novel "The Binding," in which gifted craftsmen are able to remove those memories entirely and create books full of captured experiences, is only a step away from that reality. Collins's vivid descriptions of the abuse of that magic within a grimy faux-Victorian-era world of workhouses and exploitation are almost too painfully true. We can easily recognize her grotesquely vampiric aristocrats: They are more and not less terrifying because they don't have any supernatural powers of their own. In fact, they're barely removed from the venture capitalists of today's world, funding tired, redeyed coders to cast their spells into the night, building waves of disruption that swamp vast swaths of lives. Vampires may be unable to enter a house without permission, but nowadays the consent required to bind someone's memories is as meaningful as the "O.K." we tick on one obligatory service agreement after another. Within the world of "The Binding," affection becomes gossamer fragile: Is it possible to love when that love can be so trivially erased? The most horrifying of the novel's victims is the starving mother of three who doesn't recognize her own children because all she had to sell were her memories of loving them. Now she wants nothing but to sell what little she has left and be emptied. Yet she's only one of a hopeless many, their desperate condition a threat yawning beneath those just one or two creaky steps up the rungs of the social ladder. It's fitting that the story of love Collins builds in this world is one that must pass through the violence of binding - and that it survives this violence almost entirely by chance. The moving force that saves it is the novel's protagonist, Emmett Farmer, a novice bookbinder learning to cope with a gift he doesn't want but can't refuse. His struggling courage is the leaven that raises the novel, and his slowly emerging romance with Lucian Darnay, the son of a gentleman, also has a quality I've found more often in fan fiction than in the mainstream, particularly in the subgenre known as "slash": not because both characters are male but because both characters are given the power to move the plot, the world and each other. It's always easier to bring together two characters when one is driven by the other's story, which is why so many love interests acquire a footnote quality. But Darnay's story is distinct from Emmett's, and, if anything, his weaknesses drive the narrative more than Emmett's strengths. Other characters do wind up as footnotes: Emmett's sister is an uneasy shape in the narrative, a giggling girl who occasionally emerges as a deliberate schemer in order, it seems, to soften the real harm done to her by Emmett and his lover, to make them less guilty. Darnay's father, on the other hand, is difficult to swallow not because he isn't believable - entirely the opposite - but because he's so monstrous it's hard to imagine any child of his not being damaged far worse and far younger than Lucian seems to have been. Nevertheless, "The Binding" succeeds in creating the magic it proposes: the experience of memory returning, a rush of recollection that can change the whole world, if only for one person at a time - or sometimes two. NAOMI NOVIK'S most recent novel is "Spinning Silver."
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