Many readers of The Binding will simply sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages, because, like all great fables, it also functions as transporting romance. I once heard an author of young adult fiction being asked what her novel was about, and instead of explaining its adventure plot or sophisticated science- fiction premise, she said: “Kissing”. This was clearly self-deprecation, but it was also an aperçu about the pleasure that draws readers to a huge array of books, from The Hunger Games to Anna Karenina. The Binding is a kissing novel par excellence, and on this level, it is 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.
Emmett Farmer has the same suspicious about bookbinding - the practice by which troubled souls can bind their traumas, fears and deepest secrets into a book - as most people. Struck down with an illness that leaves him unable to work, he feels compelled to accept the position of a book binder's apprentice. Then one day, in the dusty vault under the workshop, Emmett discovers a book bearing his own name. A captivating inventive and unforgettable story.