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The Crimson Petal and the Whiteby Michel Faber
Synopses & Reviews
This entertaining and morally persuasive portrait of 19th-century London society, from the lowliest of the low to the haughtiest of the high, has been widely hailed as "Dickensian." A better term would be "hyper-Dickensian." Faber's filthy guttersnipes are too wretched, his foppish dandies too pompous, and his scheming whores too cunning — and his outlook far too (deliciously) cynical— for the author of Great Expectations. Like Madonna's vinyl corset, Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White is a Victorian artifact retooled for the 21st century. Farley, Powells.com
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. 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 to 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 brings her into proximity to his extended family and milieu: his unhinged, childlike wife, Agnes, who manages to overcome her chronic hysteria to make her appearances during “the Season”; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, Sophie, left to the care of minions; 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 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 teeming with life, rich in texture and incident, with characters breathtakingly real. In a class by itself, it's a big, juicy, must-read of a novel that will delight, enthrall, provoke, and entertain young and old, male and female.
Richly textured, this novel is set in 1870s London. Nineteen-year-old prostitute Sugar yearns for escape from a terrifying brothel. Her ascent through Victorian society offers an intimacy with host of unforgettable characters as Sugar tries to lift her body and soul out of the gutter.
About the Author
Michel Faber is the author of Under the Skin and Some Rain Must Fall. His work has been published in 20 countries and received several literary awards. He lives in Scotland.
Table of Contents
PART 1: -The Streets
PART 2: -The House of Ill Repute
PART 3: -The Private Rooms and the
PART 4: -The Bosom of the Family
PART 5: -The World at Large
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