When The Binding was released, and making its way around the twitter world, I didn’t believe that a book could look so beautiful. I had to go out and buy myself a copy, just to see if it was as stunning as all the photos and posts were making it out to look like. As this year I had made a resolution to only buy books in person, not on Amazon, I made the trek to Waterstones to purchase it. When I got home I slid off the book cover to see the most detailed, perfectly-designed hardback that I have seen in a long time. The book itself, was as phenomenal as the writing inside of it. This really is the effort of the production team and designers. You can tell the amount of love and passion Micaela Alcaino put into the jacket design, alongside all of the team at The Borough Press with their fantastic marketing campaign and choice to publish this book.
She touches on so many different themes and topics in this book; love, sexuality, family, adultery and sexual harassment. But, what is evidently the main theme, in my opinion, is the importance of memories and what book binding means in the world that Bridget Collins has created. Instead of having books, written by people on fictional events, they are actually trapped memories from people who have gone through traumatic events, are heartbroken or have something they want to forget. This concept was absolutely fantastic and genuinely was portrayed so well throughout the novel. The crucial thing about this book-binding process is that, in order for someone to remove a memory, they have to consent to it, showing how important and intimate people’s memories are. There are people that respect and preserve that and there are people willing to make a profit on it, uncaring of the consequences. This is a perfect representation, in my opinion, of the world we are currently in, especially with reference to the media. Newspapers and websites choose to make a profit over other people’s life stories, sharing them to the world for other people to read and make opinions/comments on. They don’t care if they are defaming or embarrassing a person, to them it is just a job. With many characters in The Binding their work is just that, a job and trading these books can be more profitable to them. Lucian’s father and the plot line he is related to, represents this perfectly. Abusing this power in order to profit for something that he wants.
A hilarious moment I want to bring up was a particularly steamy scene Emmett and Lucian accidentally stumble on. I was sitting on the plane when my friend next to me glanced down at my page, only to look back at me with a quizzical look before hesitantly asking me what book I was reading! It was hard to try and summarise how I’d exactly gotten to that part of the story without spoiling anything!
All in all, probably the best book I have read this year so far. I was blown away by the level of talent and creativity, wrapped up both by the physical and written aspects of this book.
Language and Style: 10 points
Story: 9 points
Characters: 9 points
Plot: 10 points
Total: 38 out of 40 points
Favourite Quote: “It’s a sacred calling Emmett. To have another person’s memory entrusted to you…To take the deepest, darkest part away from them and keep it safe forever. To honour it, to make it beautiful, even though nobody else will see it.” (p.74)