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The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel…
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The Crimson Petal and the White (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Michel Faber

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5,014158903 (3.88)1 / 336
Member:Booksloth
Title:The Crimson Petal and the White
Authors:Michel Faber
Info:
Collections:Your library, Fiction, Historical fiction (WWII and before), Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:How Novels Work, Beautiful writing, London, Book Lust, Xmas/Winter

Work details

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (2002)

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English (149)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  German (2)  French (1)  All languages (158)
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
You know 'It's literary!' isn't actually an excuse for not being able to end your stories. ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
You know 'It's literary!' isn't actually an excuse for not being able to end your stories. ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
This was a really, really weird book. I read about 150 pages before I decided that it really was not worth it. I couldn't bring myself to care about the plot, and the writing was abysmal. Also, his obsession with writing about the main character's (whose name I forget) penis was a little odd. I especially did not like when he referred to it as "swaddled" - it was just totally unnecessary, and kept making me think of it as an infant. I'm not entirely sure that this wasn't the point, which, in fact, makes it creepier. Also, "shame-hair". There. There was just no need for that. I mean, it's not like I didn't expect a lot of sex in a book about prostitution (or partially about that, anyway), but this was just... shudder-inducing. I was kind of curious to see where he was going with it. But not really. ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
Wow - what a fantastic book. I read [b:The Luminaries|17333230|The Luminaries|Eleanor Catton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1384015794s/17333230.jpg|24064531] earlier in the year and was somewhat underwhelmed by it (my review) so I was slightly wary about taking on another mammoth tome of a novel set in Victorian times. I needn't have worried. Whereas The Luminaries is, in my opinion, far too complicated for its own good, [b:The Crimson Petal and the White|40200|The Crimson Petal and the White|Michel Faber|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348171760s/40200.jpg|1210026] is a pure joy to read. I loved the tone of the writing which is, by turns, funny, touching and irreverent. Almost every page has a line that is quotable. The characters are superbly delineated and will stay with you for a long time. ( )
  MargaritaMorris | Oct 16, 2014 |
A great read. Actually better than the mini series which was great also. Had greater depth in the coplexities of the characters motivations, especially Sugar ( )
  SarahStenhouse | Oct 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michel Faberprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dal Pra, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The girls that are wanted are good girls
Good from the heart to the lips
Pure as the lily is white and pure
From its heart to its sweet leaf tips.

The girls that are wanted are girls with hearts
They are wanted for mothers and wives
Wanted to cradle in loving arms
The strongest and frailest lives.

The clever, the witty, the brilliant girl
There are few who can understand
But, oh! For the wise, loving home girls
There's a constant, steady demand.

from 'The Girls that are Wanted' J.H. Gray, c. 1880
Dedication
To Eva, with love and thanks
First words
Watch your step.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
blurb : Meet Sugar, a nineteen year old prostitute in Victorian London who yearns for escape to a better life. From the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, she begins her ascent through society. Beginning with William Rackham, a perfume magnate whose lust for Sugar soon begins to smell like love, she meets a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters as her social rise is overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all kinds.
Haiku summary
Soapmaker's mistress
Wants to be secretary
But does a "Jane Eyre"
(thorold)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156028778, Paperback)

Although it's billed as "the first great 19th-century novel of the 21st century," The Crimson Petal and the White is anything but Victorian. The story of a well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who spends her free hours composing a violent, pornographic screed against men, Michel Faber's dazzling second novel dares to go where George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss and the works of Charles Dickens could not. We learn about the positions and orifices that Sugar and her clients favor, about her lingering skin condition, and about the suspect ingredients of her prophylactic douches. Still, Sugar believes she can make a better life for herself. When she is taken up by a wealthy man, the perfumer William Rackham, her wings are clipped, and she must balance financial security against the obvious servitude of her position. The physical risks and hardships of Sugar's life (and the even harder "honest" life she would have led as a factory worker) contrast--yet not entirely--with the medical mistreatment of her benefactor's wife, Agnes, and beautifully underscore Faber's emphasis on class and sexual politics. In theme and treatment, this is a novel that Virginia Woolf might have written, had she been born 70 years later. The language, however, is Faber's own--brisk and elastic--and, after an awkward opening, the plethora of detail he offers (costume, food, manners, cheap stage performances, the London streets) slides effortlessly into his forward-moving sentences. When Agnes goes mad, for instance, "she sings on and on, while the house is discreetly dusted all around her and, in the concealed and subterranean kitchen, a naked duck, limp and faintly steaming, spreads its pimpled legs on a draining board." Despite its 800-plus pages, The Crimson Petal and the White turns out to be a quick read, since it is truly impossible to put down. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

From the Publisher: At the Heart of this panoramic, multidimensional narrative is the compelling struggle of a young woman to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Michel Faber leads us back to 1870s London, where Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for escape into a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society offers us intimacy with a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters. They begin with William Rackham, an egotistical perfume magnate whose ambition is fueled by his lust for Sugar, and whose patronage of her brings her into proximity to his extended family and milieu: his unhinged, child-like wife, Agnes; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, Sophie; and his pious brother Henry, foiled in his devotional calling by a persistently less-than-chaste love for the Widow Fox, whose efforts on behalf of The Rescue Society lead Henry into ever-more disturbing confrontations with flesh. All this is overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all stripes and persuasions. Twenty years in its conception, research, and writing, The Crimson Petal and the White is a singular literary achievement-a gripping, intoxicating, deeply satisfying Victorian novel written with an immediacy, compassion, and insight that give it a timeless and universal appeal.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Editions: 1841954314, 1847678939

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