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The Binding [PDF / EPUB] The Binding Books are dangerous things in Collins's alternate universe a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th century England It's a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treachero books are dangerous things in Collins's alternate universe a place vaguely reminiscent of th century England It's a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice Leaving behind home and family Emmett slowly regains his health while learning The Binding trade He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored so he spends many months marbling end pages tooling leather book covers and gilding edges But his curiosity is piued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay with whom he senses a connection changes everything.

  • Hardcover
  • 439 pages
  • The Binding
  • Bridget Collins
  • English
  • 06 November 2016
  • 9780062838094

10 thoughts on “The Binding

  1. says:

    We’ve been called witches since the beginning of time Word cunning they used to call it—of a piece with invoking demonsWe were burned for it too The Crusade wasn’t new we’ve always been scapegoats Well knowledge is always a kind of magic I suppose Emmett Farmer is a young man with issues He used to think that he would inherit his family’s farm It was the life he was used to and the road he expected to follow to and beyond the horizon But he has not been himself lately His abilities have deteriorated He loses himself in time suffering dizziness nausea and weakness Some say he was cursed by a witch When he is offered an apprenticeship with a bookbinder it offers a way out however frightening the career and his mentor might be Bridget Collins image from United Agents UKDespite some raw similarities bookbinding in Bridget Collins’s world is not uite the same as it is in ours Emmett trains with the elderly Seradith a woman seen as being a witchy sort by some of the locals In fact bookbinding is seen as a dodgy sort of work What is bound in books here are memories Instead of sharing recollections or stories as they do in our reality the memories bound into beautifully crafted leather books in this world are removed from clients by binders Unlike books in our world which are designed to be shared these books are meant to be hidden Being on the NY Times Top Ten list would kinda defeat the purposeAt least that is the intent Cheat on your taxes? Pay off your mistress to keep uiet at the height of a political campaign? Sell out your nation’s security in return for real estate consideration by a foreign enemy? Awkward But there is a solution well for part of it anyway Go to a binder and the memories will be nicely removed leaving your tiny mind virginally memory and guilt free and ready for that sit down with whoever might be heading an investigation If memory cleansing bookbinding existed in our world I imagine there would be a long line of potential clients Of course it might be a challenge to find binders with the innate talent to make those memories move from a client’s brain to the page One can train in how to work the leather sew the pages and do all the material steps entailed in constructing such a book but only those with a special gift can smooth the passage from one medium to the other Emmett Farmer it turns out has such a gift It does not help much with tilling fields but is crucial for this special craft the hours passed slowly full of small solid details; at home in the busyness of farm life I’d never had the time to sit and stare or pay attention to the way a tool looked or how well it was made before I used it Here the clock in the hall dredged up seconds like stones and dropped them again into the pool of the day letting each ripple widen before the next one fell Emmett acclimates to Seradith’s remote locale out in the marshes begins to learn the manual end of the binding craft and is eager to move beyond to learn what bookbinding is really all about he does not actually know He is particularly curious about what goes on beyond certain forbidden doors at Seradith’s emporium but even glancing inside such doors causes him major episodes of what his boss calls Binder’s Disease costing him days of consciousness and bringing forth strange visions These strains increase when certain clients arrive When he finds a book with his name on it Emmett realizes that he is less than wholePart Two of the novel is Emmett’s bound story as reported in that book Part Three returns us to Emmett’s now and how he deals with what he has learned More than that about the goings on risks spoiling a key plot twist But it does touch on forbidden love and the dangers of loving outside one’s class however that may be defined The Binding is an engaging page turner of an historical fantasy particularly the first third in which we are introduced to Collins’s world an amalgam of the medieval and circa 1890 rural England The mystery of Emmett’s affliction is enticing and his experience at Seradith’s is riveting I found Part Two Emmett’s bound story interesting but nowhere near as gripping Part three is pretty much a continuation of Part Two but with Emmett aware of his history so is of a cloth with the second than the first part Not to say that the latter two are not good just not so fabulous as the opening in terms of the engagement of the story at least In terms of looking at the socio economic implications of binding they are wonderful One fascinating thing is how Collins came up with her concept She was working as a volunteer at Samaritans a non profit that offers people who will listen for people who need to talk What would it be like if I could reach out and winch that memory from you? She was also taking a book binding class at the time and a happy combination was conceived In setting her story in late 19th century rural England she uses some history of the era to correspond with events in the created reality For example the Binding Law of 1850 in Emmett’s world corresponds to the 1850 legalization of gin I’ll drink to that in English law The Crusades here for example were not about perceived Middle Eastern outrages addressed with European outrages but were focused on scapegoating binding for the social and economic disruptions brought about by the rise of capitalism Binders are viewed as women accused of witchcraft have been in our world dealers in mysterious practices necessary for providing needed services but not to be trusted and maybe evil There are many novels that use memory loss as a core mechanism Some elements of these are fairly common How is memory lost? Literature is rich with examples usually of the traumatic sort usually involving violence typically a blow to the head These tend to populate books in which memory loss features as a Maguffin for propelling a thriller or mystery Next down the list is memory lost through illness typically Alzheimers’ disease Still Alice fits in there nicely There are stories in which memory loss is via external misadventure of a broader science fictiony sort things like plagues The Book of M is a wonderful example Less populous is the sort in which memory is willingly surrendered Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind pops to mind and we elect to keep it there for now The Binding relies on the last of these substituting a bit of magic for the sci fi explanation offered in Eternal Sunshine What lifts The Binding above the crowd of memory loss novels is its consideration of the societal implications of voluntary forgetting There are complications of course and they are wonderfully explored Some with power want others to forget what they have done Think of it as an employment contract or a user agreement for partaking in pretty much any software You agree to this and that and such and such which will entail the surrender of some inalienable rights Just click agree at the bottom of the mouse print form But damn you need the job or want to use the software However what if what you are surrendering to the seller or employer is the right to your own memories? And what if the person in power has done something they would rather you not remember? You might find yourself or what is left of you wearing out a path to the binder’s shop for a bit of a memory trim Boss just sent me over Says you should just take a bit off the top please and close on the sides ok? I will leave to your imagination and the book of course how such a system might be abused So we have an author who looks at political power in a very personal way Workers of the world unite You have nothing to lose but yourwait what was that again? Continuing the image what if you are starving and selling your memories as a way to put food on the table the way many in poverty engage in sex work to make ends meet? Puts me in mind of the Beggarwoman from Sweeney Todd Hey don’t I know you Mister?” Which of course presumes that there are binders out there with somewhat lower ethical standards than the very righteous Seradith Shocking I know To lift the novel even higher is a parallel consideration the significance the power of books themselves what it means to write a book to read a book and to share the experiences of another through the written page I was reminded of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Book Thief What if we look at books as a manifestation of self? Not exactly a stretch Do authors lose a part of themselves when they commit their thoughts to the page? Is reading a book written by someone else a form of voyeurism? Just as in our world books can be used for benign or malign purposes books are treated as treasured valuables by some and as a form of personal or mass produced filth by others Seradith essentially amputates memories as a physician would take an unhealable limb a benign act and saves the bound memory in a beautifully crafted book kept safe in a vault Others may make use of such books for corrupt purposes You yes you reading this you know the power of books how they can act like a drug slaking temporarily an unuenchable thirst Very drug like no? How about the power of books to heal? Ever read anything that made you feel better? Certainly any well written memoir can offer one a view of someone’s inner life but at least in our world that does not reuire that the author forget what she has written Books change lives whether we read or write them For writers a part of themselves definitely finds its way onto the page And a world in which all books are locked away sounds rather medievalCollins offers a bit of wry perspective on writing There’s a growing trade in fakes you know Does that concern you?” He paused but he didn’t seem surprised not to get an answer “I’ve never seen one—well as far as I know but I’m curious Could one really tell the difference? Novels they call them They must be much cheaper to produce You can copy them you see Use the same story over and over and as long as you’re careful how you sell them you can get away with it it makes one wonder who would write them People who enjoy imagining misery I suppose People who have no scruples about dishonesty People who can spend days writing a long sad lie without going insaneMy father of course is a connoisseur He claims that he would know instantly if he saw a novel He says that a real authentic book breathes an unmistakable scent ofwell He calls it truth or life I think maybe he means despair I doubt that despair is what you will experience on reading The Binder This is a marvelous read a thoughtful engaging novel featuring a large dollop of Dickensian social commentary while following an appealing everyman through the perils of coming of age and offering in addition insightful observations on memory as self and the power of books I was sure I had something to say but I seem to have forgotten what that was Review Posted – January 4 2019Publication UK – January 10 2019 USA – April 16 2019 April 21 2020 trade paperIn the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25% from 20000 to 15000 characters In order to accommodate the text beyond that I have moved it to the comments section below in what is currently comment #5

  2. says:

    if i could bind my memories into a book i would start with the time i spend reading this not because i would want to forget but so that i could always remember to have something tangible documenting how spellbound i became by this story i guess this review will have to suffice while this story radiates pure magic and enchantment to captivate bookworms everywhere this is also a stunning love story its humble and unassuming and so very touching while i would have loved world building and development of how the book binding magic works and how binders are created i cant find myself willing to fault this because of how enamoured i was with emmett and memorieseffectively structured beautifully written and heartwarmingly tender this book is one i never want to forget ↠ 45 stars

  3. says:

    Bridget Collins has written a beautifully imagined piece of fantasy historical fiction a sumptuous love story of poor farmer's son Emmet Farmer and the wealthy privileged Lucian Darnay doomed to be star crossed lovers In this world books are not what we would recognise them to be books are for all those things that people feel destroyed by and cannot live with in their lives They are extraordinary hand crafted leather bound repositories of actual peoples memories their secrets grief and pain erased for good after being stored in a book Books are feared and forbidden as Emmet finds to his cost when he is drawn to buy one An unwelcome letter arrives for Emmet an apprenticeship he cannot refuse he will train to be a bookbinder under Seredith's tutelage a sacred calling For a while Emmet has been ill unable to contribute to the farm as he once did but he like others is afraid of bookbinders a profession surrounded with ignorance prejudice and superstition He travels to Seredith's remote home and surprisingly finds solace in his daily tasks surrounded by a silence that turns out to be what he needs to bear his illnessThe narrative goes back and forth in time from the time Emmet and his sister Alta meet Lucian Darnay to the development of their relationship and to Emmet's experiences with other bookbinders and their clients The reader comes to understand how Emmet came to develop his mystery illness and the effects and repercussions of bookbinding on his and Lucian's lives Seredith turns out to be a remarkably ethical and moral bookbinder storing and safely locking away the books in her vault This is in sharp contrast to others some bookbinders are happy to practice a corrupt horrifyingly venal form of bookbinding for the rich and powerful that uses and abuses people These bookbinders illegally sell and trade the books for profit often to those with a prurient interest in the secret lives of others and for the purposes of blackmail In a story of murder magic separation and ruthless powerful forces do Emmet and Lucian's love stand any chance in a hostile world?Collins engages in complex world building in this utterly beguiling novel making this world come vibrantly alive with her detailed descriptions of time and place whilst relating a moving and original love story that charms and captivates This is Romeo and Romeo for the modern age the characterisation is compelling with Emmet and Lucian’s love crossing the social class divide over a love story that crosses boundaries in so many other senses too This is brilliant storytelling that immerses the reader in a past where books are a dangerous and secret commodity and a forbidden love that threatens to destroy Emmet and Lucian Highly recommended Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC

  4. says:

    I'm starting to become a little disillusioned with upcoming releases by unknown or new to me authors THE BINDING has an excellent marketing campaign a gorgeous cover and was a book I wanted to get into my hands desperately due to a inaccurate comparison to a book I love However for this reader the insides don't match the outsidesThis book has three parts to it The first act is slow plodding and mired in the familiar 'other characters know things but cannot tell the protagonist for reasons' trope Act two is a major reveal a flashback and the only part of the story I enjoyed Act three is a new perspective misery and extra unpleasantness when there was already a lot of that to go aroundThe concept of binding memories locking away emotions is fascinating There was something of a cultural clash of the rural old world respect for such an exchange versus the urbane and materialistic and not to mention vile andor wicked reasons for doing so But ultimately all it did was introduce terrible characters into a book that wasn't filled with many good ones to begin with Infact I struggle to think of than oneThere is darkness to this story unpleasantness and any of the magic I was hoping for was really just limited to the strange practice of the binding and the few binders who could do it This was a lot less fantastical than I thought it would be and the only surprise was that there is a ueer romance within these pages If I rated this book by the parts of it it would be a slow terribly paced two star for part one a sweet blush of a three for the middle and an awful one star for the final section There is a HEA of sorts but yeah I don't know This was just a lot depressing or maybe just stark? bleak? than I thought it would be Great premise Some potential And when I was reading it it was a smooth read; though once put down it was hard to build up the desire to pick it back up Overall though I wish I could bind my memories of THE BINDING and go back to when I still had stars in my eyes at the thought of reading something new and wonderful I received an ARC from the publisher thank you in exchange for an honest review

  5. says:

    Magical realism is never my first choice and it is the genre I hardly ever decide to read but I never refuse a novel that manages to incorporate it into a good story And this is a splendid example of such combination that forced me to continue reading till late hours The idea of binding your memories into books and leaving none left is both brilliant and terrifying The Binding cast a spell on me that I will take some time to reverse provided I want it

  6. says:

    25 stars I had high hopes for this book really loved the premise but I think it’s one of those cases that it delivered something else than promised The idea sounded very original; people’s bad memories binded in a book so that they don’t remember them any It sounded like it has fantasy elements some magic with interesting characters The book is divided in 3 parts I loved the first part but things went into a completely different direction starting from the second part The rest of the book is just a romance story It’s remotely related to the overarching idea but in my opinion it was too much too predictable too slow Also there are lots of trigger warnings in this book rape sexual abuse murder This darkness and the amount of pages spent on it took me by surprise So I think that original idea is lost in between attempts of a bit of LGBT content and too much darkness In addition there are characters we spent a lot of time on in the first part that were not touched upon in the other parts It was lacking character development Then there was no explanation on where this magic is coming from why some people have it what’s the set up? Although Collins’ writing was flowing nicely in my opinion the plot was far from perfect and complete In the end it was not for me Thanks so much to Harper Collins for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

  7. says:

    ‘’I laid my hand over the bruises on my arm fitting my fingers into the marks The wind murmured in the thatch and drove another gust of rain against the window pane but the house was thick walled solid as old as rock Binder’s fever not madness or weakness’’Emmett is suffering from a strange affliction His parents are of little help engrossed in how to find a wealthy husband for his sister absorbed by their wish for money without even trying When a strange call arrives Emmett has to answer And so it happens and his path is crossed with a fascinating woman a binder who specializes in uniue books Emmett has to fight He has to understand his vocation he has to learn how to stand up to the ones who want to use him as a tool against a world that doesn't understandWhat if we could erase every negative memory from our minds? What if we could capture all those incidents that made our lives a struggle into a book bind them and store them away out of sight and out of mind? What if this gift fell into the wrong hands? What if vile men forced their victims to have their memories erased so that they could come clean and unpunished?Bridget Collins has written one of the most interesting novels you’ll ever read and has presented the readers with a number of complex moral uestions Everyone’s mind is full of moments that we wish had never happened They have hurt us they still hurt and will go on hurting us We all have wished for them to disappear and leave us be However aren’t these exact moments a part of who we are? They have shaped our course our principles our future choices That embarrassing moment has taught us to be wiser that pain seemingly unbearable has made us stronger that failure has made us cautious and determined And how do we erase the memory of someone who entered our lives and vanished along with all the moments we spent together?Don’t you just love it when a book provokes endless discussions with yourself and with others? Collins depicts the dilemmas within an alternative 19th century England through the eyes of a young man who tries to untangle the knots in his difficult life Despised and scorned because of his low social status recognized by a wise old woman for his gift and courage burdened with an emotional load that has dire conseuences Collins creates a very approachable character in the face of Emmett His insecurities and doubts the naive choices he may make are a token of a human disposition a youth standing on a crossroads Even though he likes to think he is unimportant he is courageous and honest The evil lies with the people who surround him the ones who oppress and terrify him They are the problemI had high hopes for this beautiful book and I wasn’t disappointed The only issues I faced had to do with the romance plotline which was tiresome and not to my personal taste but this is my approach to every romance included within a story so it was to be expected The dialogue was lacking in uality when compared to the prose and all the hullabaloo concerning Alta and everyone’s love troubles left me coldCollins created a world where moral dilemmas clash with social norms where gifted people are used to the benefit of the aristocracy where books can be a salvation or a tyranny A perfect novel for dark autumn nights ''An owl called distant and then closer; something scuttled in the corner of the yard I imagined the owl circling silent now waiting for the glint of tiny eyes the twitch of a tail A death like that you wouldn't hear it coming''My reviews can also be found on

  8. says:

    The premise of The Binding in one sentence terrible people are terrible and when I say terrible what I really mean is everyone It's terribly gruesome and disturbing at times and portrays abuse in many shapes yet I couldn't look away For the past few days I've been wondering why I was so damn affected by a novel that many of my friends found lacking Yet I'm pretty sure that the sense of dread I felt came from how very realistic the horrors pictured were you can wrap up abuse with a fantasy bow in the end what remains is the profound easiness with which we human beings hurt others every single day In my opinion Bridget Collins did a fantastic job of capturing humans' inner cowardice and it moved the secret part parts of myself that I'd rather ignore Because really ask yourself this how would we react if we could choose to forget our tragedies instead of grieving? Who would we be? I want to believe that I'd be stronger than that but at some point I had to take a break to breathe because the worst is I understand the appeal way too much You can't imagine how many times I silently thanked the world for not making it a choice I could envision when well when being numb seemed like a fucking treat compared to the sea of despair I was drowning in And perhaps that's why The Binding reminded me of something that I think is forgotten too often we read with our heart No matter how organized we think we are how specific about the amount of points we give to the world building the writing etcetera in the end what we really do is take a look at our heart and decide And it does not mean we're bad reviewers It does not mean that knowledge and skills don't influence our feelings either because they should and they do but all the same reading a book is such a subjective experience Reading The Binding was incredibly intense for me and if you know me even a little bit you'll understand why I couldn't give it anything less than five stars Now if you feel like I've written the longest introduction ever and are waiting for me to tackle the plot you should know that I won't I'm actually pissed at the blurb do NOT read it that gives away a plot point we only learn at the end of the first third of the story As much as I understand what the marketing team was doing I genuinely think that revealing that information was counterproductive because a it diminishes the tension a bit and b it creates expectations that will NOT be fulfilled and we know how often that can ruin a novel So listen don't go in there expecting a fantasy novel with a strong world building and you know explanations and stuff The Binding is most definitely not that and you would be disappointed It's a character study with a captivating premise and a strong romantic element Really it's about the psychology of the characters than anything else Those books are my favorite but well as I said it's subjective Most surprisingly The Binding reminded me of Dickens' and Zola's works in the way the dichotomy between rural and urban is pictured with the underlying idea that the rural world is innocent and that the city's greed and selfishness spreads into people like a disease I understand how it could annoy readers and I would have preferred if the comparison didn't feel so simplistic at times yet it did fit very well the story and therefore didn't bother me The thought sends ice down my spine If only I were a hero The sort of people who would risk that But I'm not The relationships portrayed are messy and I understand why some readers hated the boys I just I couldn'tBoth Emmet and Lucian were so unlikable sometimes and yet I loved them so much There's an enemy to lovers romance with a love triangle of sorts except not really Sigh Okay so I know many people will disagree with me but what I mean is there's unreuited love from another character and yes I know it's a love triangle for some people but nah not for me It did hurt though because that character was young and sweet Yet I don't know friends Love is selfish I I don't think we can prevent ourselves from loving someone even if it hurts someone else we love I just don't believe that Do I wish it wasn't this way? Sure But there's a difference between what I wish and what is Nobody's cheating Trust is broken but I don't think the characters had any other choice and I'm not gonna judge them for the way they tried to navigate a society so profoundly homophobic As for the last part I truly loved the change of POV Honestly? I really really needed it because I just couldn't handle Emmet's voice any Moreover we cannot fail but feel that something is not uite there It's lacking certainly but hear me out in my opinion it's entirely on purpose It just fits when nothing else would have Annnnnnd you're probably wondering what the fuck I'm talking about but really you'll have to read it to get what I'm saying Sorry Finally I loved the open ending I wouldn't say that it was what I wanted but I genuinely think that it was what the story needed Many things are left unresolved some of the villains are running wild but it's not the kind of story we can wrap with a little bow In my opinion what mattered was the journey and what a journey it made me feel SO MUCH My god I reread the last few pages one billion times TW Rape murder graphic suicide homophobia abuse physical and sexual animal cruelty pedophiliaVectors from Free Vector Design by Vecteezycom

  9. says:

    Finishes book Blinks Blinks again SLAMS book fucking shut S E E T H I N G AGAHSKAKPZKWOAOVJWOAPWLFYCIAOWKZ— unintelligible garble insert here WHAT?????? WAS ?????? THAT ??????I AM SO ANNOYED NOW WTF NO ONE TALK TO ME RIGHT NOW I want to give this book ONE STAR AFTER THAT ENDING So pointlessStupid stupid s t u p i d RTC 15 STARS

  10. says:

    I don’t care Not for me Won it in a goodreads giveaway Skim read because it bored me Yay for everyone that loved it 😘Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

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