This is a gorgeous fantasy about the power of books to erase past memories, and the love between two young men. In this world, books play a very different, almost mystical role. If a person has experienced great pain or grief they are able to visit a bookbinder, who has the ability the extract painful memories entirely and store them in a book especially created for the person, which is then kept safe by the bookbinder. And if, for some reason, this book is destroyed, these memories will flood back to their now unsuspecting inhabitant. This almost shaman-like skill, and the power attached to being sole possessor of so many secrets, is regarded with fear and prejudice by the common people in this world.
When Emmet Farmer is summonsed by a bookbinder to become an apprentice, the letter he receives is met with dread. But it gives Emmett the chance to escape from the peculiar tension he feels at home. He is suffering from an illness he can’t identify, and the new quiet and secluded location, with his master, Seredith, and the skills he begins to learn bring him some relief. The narrative skips between Emmet’s present situation and the past with his sister Alta, and growing friendship with Lucien Darnay. When he discovers there is a book with his name on the spine we begin to piece the truth together. An original and beautifully conceived story.