One of the most talked-about novels of the year, this international bestseller gives new meaning to the term “unputdownable.” Reviewers and readers everywhere have been eagerly abandoning their everyday lives for days and even weeks on end, refusing to leave Michel Faber’s vividly realized fictional world. They are captivated by Sugar, an enigmatic nineteen-year-old prostitute whose story begins in a hellish nineteenth-century London brothel. Struggling to lift her body and soul out of the gutter, Sugar claws her way up the social ladder to gain refuge in the wealthy family of her besotted lover, William Rackham, unwilling heir to a perfumery. Now in the popular Perennial format, The Crimson Petal and the White is a gripping tale, extraordinarily rich, intricate and intoxicating to the final page.
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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 MarlerFrom the Back Cover:
A New York Times Notable Book
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.
Named a Best Book of the Year by: People, Entertainment Weekly, and The Chicago Tribune.
"Gorgeous.... Colossal, kaleidoscopic... Capable of rendering the muck of a London street amid the delicate humming-bird flights of thought with equal ease." -Time
"Ambitious and accomplished...nothing could have prepared readers for the sweep and subtlety of The Crimson Petal and the White."--The New York Times Book Review
"Tell[s] a good story grippingly and colorfully.... An old-fashioned page-turner with pleasingly newfangled twists." --The Washington Post Book World
Michel Faber's work has been published in twenty countries and received several literary awards. He lives in Scotland.
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Book Description Harper Collins Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0006392172
Book Description Harper Perennial, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110006392172
Book Description Harper Perennial, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0006392172
Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0006392172 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1885361