Young Emmett Farmer begins to apprentice as a Bookbinder, a sacred calling in which traumatic memories are captured from whomever wants to be rid of them and sealed away in an elegant leather-bound volume. When Emmett finds a volume with his own name on it, he must face the truth that his life is not what it seems.
In many ways, The Binding is an unpretentious work of escapist fiction. The morality of the book is simple; the good are essentially noble and their enemies unambiguously wicked ... But while some elements are overfamiliar, every detail is bracingly specific and real ... Collins also masterfully conveys the interior life of her characters, particularly the altered states of love, and the book becomes truly spellbinding as Emmett is drawn vertiginously toward sexual love and its dazzling aftermath ... The Binding becomes a parable of 'Don’t ask, don’t tell' and the #MeToo movement, one that makes it clear that even our memories can be colonized ... 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.
Collins’ interest in bookbinding is apparent in her enchanting descriptions of these vessels of memories. She also found inspiration in her work with the Samaritans, the British charity organization she volunteered with, working with people who had experienced trauma. The Binding is an imaginative, thought-provoking tale of how—for better and worse—moments can define who we become.