The Crimson Petal and the White
By Michel Faber
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156028776, 920pp.)
Publication Date: September 2003
Meet Sugar, a nineteen-year-old prostitute in nineteenth-century London who yearns for escape to a better life. From the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, she begins her ascent through society, meeting a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters on the way. They begin with William Rackham, an egotistical perfume magnate whose empire is fueled by his lust for Sugar; 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. All this is overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all stripes and persuasions.
Teeming with life, this is a big, juicy must-read of a novel that has enthralled hundreds of thousands of readers-and will continue to do so for years to come.
Michel Faber's work has been published in twenty countries and received several literary awards. He lives in Scotland.
PRAISE FOR THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE
"Don't wait for the movie. Read The Crimson Petal and the White now, while it's still a living, laughing, sweating, coruscating mass of gorgeous words. . . . Words say things even bodies can't. And that's why a book like this is even better than sex."-Time
"A big, sexy, bravura novel that is destined to be surpassingly popular . . . Dear Reader, the author has unpretentiously revived the spirit of the [19th century's] broad, socially conscious narrative tableau."-Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Nothing could have prepared readers for the sweep and subtlety of The Crimson Petal and the White."-The New York Times Book Review
"A lasting love affair; the intimate relationship one develops with the characters after reading for 834 pages is much more satisfying than the mere one-night-stand promised by other novels."-People
"Cocky and brilliant, amused and angry, the author is rightfully earning comparisons to observer extraordinaire Charles Dickens. . . . It's hopeless to resist."-Entertainment Weekly
"This year's most entertaining novel."-The Boston Globe
"Ambitious and accomplished ... Nothing could have prepared readers for the sweep and subtlety of The Crimson Petal and the White."
"Tell[s] a good story grippingly and colorfully ... An old-fashioned page-turner with pleasingly new-fangled twists."
"Gorgeous. Capable of rendering the muck of a London street and the delicate humming-bird flights of thought with equal ease."