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The Crimson Petal and the White (2002)

by Michel Faber

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,7111951,380 (3.88)1 / 427
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:A teenage prostitute ascends through the many layers of Victorian London society in this highly acclaimed "big, sexy, bravura a novel" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times).

London, 1870s. At the heart of this panoramic narrative is a young woman's struggle to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society begins with the egotistical perfume magnate William Rackham. Infatuated with Sugar, William's patronage brings her into the circles of his family and milieu: his wife who barely overcomes chronic hysteria to make her appearances during "the Season"; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, left to the care of minions; his pious brother, foiled in his devotional calling by his lust for the Widow Fox; as well as 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 teeming with life, rich in texture and incident, with breathtakingly real characters. "Cocky and brilliant, amused and angry, [Faber] is rightfully earning comparisons to observer extraordinaire Charles Dickens. . . . It's hopeless to resist" (Entertainment Weekly).
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 Book talk: The Crimson Petal and the White on TV25 unread / 25thorold, May 2011

» See also 427 mentions

English (180)  Dutch (6)  Italian (4)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)
Väga hea raamat. Esimese paari peatüki jooksul ma küll mõtlesin, et no mis Faber see nüüd on ja kas mul ikka on vaja seda dickenslikkult masendusemaigulist asja lugeda, aga kirjutatud oli ikka nii hästi, et muudkui vedas edasi, ja siis, ehteestlaslikult muidugi, ei saanud enam pidama :)
Teistsugune, kohati lausa naturalistlikult lehkav, väga feministlik ja nagu ikka, otsad kõik lahti ...
Kuna lugesin just hiljuti Kate Listeri "Seksi kummalist ajalugu", siis oli see Faberi lugu nagu praktika, mis teooriale järgnedes on nagu rusikas silmaauku.
Soovitan! ( )
  sashery | Jan 29, 2024 |
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.

This is the story fo the well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who believes she can make a better life for herself. You read about the physical practicalities that a prostitute has to deal with - who protects them, what acts they have to perform, the degredations they have to accept (you learn for instance, what they have to endure in an attempt to avoid pregnancy).

Prostitution, rather than frowned upon in all levels of society, is indulged in by many of the wealthy/upper class men by the famous-but-secret publications highlighting where the brothels are, and giving establishments and individuals ratings as to the services provided.

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. Agnes is mollycoddled and allowed to descend into clinical madness and death, all aggravated by the birth of a daughter.

Even though my edition came in at just under 1000 pages, I have to admit it came too soon for me (and many others, but not all apparently). In fact, after releasing it as a Bookcrossing book, this is one of the few books where I brought a second copy! ( )
  nordie | Oct 14, 2023 |
Note: I could not finish this. By page 433 I found out I didn't give a damn about these characters, or their problems, and that it was all just an immense waste of time. If you're into that kind of entertainment where pages and pages are filled with pointless descriptions, characters never to be mentioned again, or thin character development (was there even any? I'm not reading any more to find out.) go ahead. I just know I have limited time and this does not fit into my schedule. ( )
1 vote Eavans | Feb 17, 2023 |
Here'w what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "This was over done. Young Englishman's fasination with a prositute turns dangerous. Squirting water across the room, give me a break. (NOTE: Most reviews indicate readers were much more impressed than I. From amazon.com online review: "Faber's bawdy, brilliant third novel tells an intricate tale of love and ambition and paints a new portrait of Victorian England and its citizens in prose crackling with insight and bravado.")" ( )
  MGADMJK | Feb 14, 2023 |
The weakest book i read by Faber so far. Which says a lot about his incredible high standards. ( )
  Wolfseule23 | Aug 6, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Faber, Michelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Świerkocki, MaciejTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dal Pra, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsson, NilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Möhring, Hans-UlrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omland, StianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, HilkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saint-Aubin, Guillemette deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Varrelmann, ClausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vigild, NielsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary 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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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:A teenage prostitute ascends through the many layers of Victorian London society in this highly acclaimed "big, sexy, bravura a novel" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times).

London, 1870s. At the heart of this panoramic narrative is a young woman's struggle to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society begins with the egotistical perfume magnate William Rackham. Infatuated with Sugar, William's patronage brings her into the circles of his family and milieu: his wife who barely overcomes chronic hysteria to make her appearances during "the Season"; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, left to the care of minions; his pious brother, foiled in his devotional calling by his lust for the Widow Fox; as well as 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 teeming with life, rich in texture and incident, with breathtakingly real characters. "Cocky and brilliant, amused and angry, [Faber] is rightfully earning comparisons to observer extraordinaire Charles Dickens. . . . It's hopeless to resist" (Entertainment Weekly).

No library descriptions found.

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)

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1841954314, 1847678939

 

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