Just this book.
I don't even know how to begin.
It has been a very, very long time since I rationed the number of chapters I was allowed to read each day, because I didn't want a book to end. It has been a week since I finished it, and I still feel a deep sense of disappointment when I go to bed, that there isn't any more.
I know I'm not the first to say this, but The Binding is completely spellbinding. Bridget Collins cast some sort of linguistic witchery.
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 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 piqued 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.
From beginning to end, it is just utterly outstanding.
I picked it up after my friend Kim posted about it on her Facebook feed, and someone else replied saying they'd also really enjoyed it. The cover was nice, so I thought I'd give it a go. How easily I might have missed this and never known.
Reminiscent of The Shadow of the Wind and The Book of Sand, but completely other. A book that the world is better for having in it.
I picked up the audiobook, narrated by Carl Prekopp, who was absolutely the right choice. He did it complete justice. Plus, the audiobook cover is very nice - light against the printed dark. And now I've seen a picture of the hardcover with its beautiful blue edging, I need to own a copy.
"May your darkness be quiet and the light come sooner than you need."