The Crimson Petal and the White
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The Crimson Petal and the White

3.87 (31,487 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 928 pages
  • 137.16 x 195.58 x 43.18mm | 929.86g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0156028778
  • 9780156028776
  • 246,033

Back cover copy

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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Review quote

"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
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Rating details

31,487 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 33% (10,518)
4 35% (10,919)
3 21% (6,590)
2 8% (2,364)
1 3% (1,096)
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