The Official Book Club Guide: The Binding

The Official Book Club Guide: The Binding
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An essential tool for all reading groups – a detailed guide to exciting debut novel, The Binding!A comprehensive guide to Bridget Collins’ The Binding, this discussion aid includes a wealth of information and resources: useful literary context; an author biography; a plot synopsis; analyses of themes and imagery; character analysis; thought-provoking discussion questions; recommended further reading, an exclusive Q&A with the author and even a quick quiz.This companion guide takes the hard work out of preparing for meetings and guarantees productive discussion. For solo readers, it encourages a deeper examination of a rich and rewarding text.

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The Official Book Club Guide: The Binding


Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPublishers 2019

Copyright to extracts from The Binding © Bridget Collins 2019

Copyright © Kathyrn Cope 2019

Cover design: Holly Macdonald © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2019

Kathryn Cope asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Ebook Edition © January 2019 ISBN: 9780008309763

Version 2018-09-27

There are few things more rewarding than getting together with a group of like-minded people and discussing a good book. Book club meetings, at their best, are vibrant, passionate affairs. Each member will bring along a different perspective and ideally there will be heated debate.

A surprising number of book club members, however, report that their meetings have been a disappointment. Even though their group loved the particular book they were discussing, they could think of astonishingly little to say about it. Failing to find interesting discussion angles for a book is the single most common reason for book group discussions to fall flat. Most book groups only meet once a month and a lacklustre meeting is frustrating for everyone.

HarperCollins Reading Group Guides were born out of a passion for reading groups. Packed with information, they take the hard work out of preparing for a meeting and ensure that your book group discussions never run dry. How you choose to use the guides is entirely up to you. The author biography and style sections provide useful background information which may be interesting to share with your group at the beginning of your meeting. The all-important list of discussion questions, which will probably form the core of your meeting, can be found towards the end of this guide. To support your responses to the discussion questions, you may find it helpful to refer to the ‘themes’ and ‘character’ and ‘setting’ sections.

A detailed plot synopsis is provided as an aide-memoire if you need to recap on the finer points of the plot. There is also a quick quiz - a fun way to test your knowledge and bring your discussion to a close. Finally, if this was a book that you particularly enjoyed, the guide concludes with a list of books similar in style or subject matter.

Be warned, this guide contains spoilers. Please do not be tempted to read it before you have read the original novel as plot surprises will be well and truly ruined.

Bridget Collins trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after reading English at King’s College, Cambridge. She is the author of seven acclaimed books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Binding is her first adult novel.



Emmett Farmer has suffered a mysterious illness. The strange malady – involving fevers and hallucinations – has left him weak and unable to remember the events of the summer. Feeling weak and useless, he struggles to keep up with the jobs on his parents’ farm.

Emmet is aware that there is something his family are keeping from him. One day, he overhears his parents arguing. When he tries to concentrate on what they are saying, however, a ringing sound drowns out their voices. Soon afterwards, Mr and Mrs Farmer announce that a binder has written to them offering Emmett an apprenticeship. Emmett knows that his parents disapprove of binding: a process which involves removing a person’s memories and putting them in a book. He remembers that, years earlier, his mother and father reacted furiously when he bought a book from the Wakening Fair. Their eagerness for him to accept the apprenticeship is, therefore, mystifying.


Emmett and his father travel to an isolated bindery surrounded by marshland. The binder, who lives there alone, is an old woman called Seredith. On entering the bindery, Emmett feels a strange sense of familiarity and, after his father leaves, he faints. Seredith reveals that when he fell ill, months earlier, it was at the bindery.

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