Publication: Salt Publication
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“Once I have owned a book I am longing for the next one. Collecting is a creative act. One of perpetual longing and desire. One is never fully fulfilled. Collectors live in dread of satisfaction. There is that brief, transitory moment of satisfaction and then it disappears like dust in the air.”
Alice Thompson’s The Book Collector is a gothic story of book collecting and the vulgar habit of bookbinding with human skins. At first, I picked up the book considering it as a new variety of The Book Thief, a novel by the Australian author Markus Zusak. But later I discover it is not.
The girl seated in the chair confronting the fires seemed to me the book collector who like Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451 a 1953 dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury is trying to save the books from burning. Again it may be Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, trying to save a half-burnt book from book burnt celebration on the birthday of Hitler.
Here it is Archie…the man who is obsessed with his book-collecting habits and binding them with human skin…horrible.
Alice Thompson, born in Edinburg, is a Scottish novelist. Her famous novels are
Killing Time (1990)
Pandora’s Box (1998)
The Existential Detective (2010)etc.
Archie lost his wife Rose and bound a book of a fairy tale with her skin. That he kept secretly inside a secret chamber and didn’t allow Violet, his second wife to touch it.
“The book won’t interest you. And it needs to be kept out of the light. Sunlight damages the pages. Makes the print fade.”
He even didn’t like her to touch any of his books as they were precious to him and might get damaged by her dirty touch.
‘But what am I to do – I love reading – if I am at the house all day?’