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The Crimson Petal and the White
     

The Crimson Petal and the White

4.0 224
by Michel Faber
 

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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

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The Crimson Petal and the White 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 223 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down -- it captivated me from the beginning through all 833 pages. The descriptions of Victorian London were mesmerizing, and the descriptions of the characters beautifully drawn. I grew to love some of the people, dislike some of the others, and really care what happened to them. Then suddenly -- poof! It's over, and I feel like I've been cheated. I have no idea what happened to anyone. There really was no ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book can be described in one word `disappointing`. The beginning starts with a promise to show the reader exuberant characters and believeable settings and generally in the first few chapters (1-3) it does, however after this beginning, what one actually gets is a flimsy plot with a non-ending. So many questions are left unanswered what happeded to Agnes, Sugar and Sophie. The only characters i found remotely interesting were Bodley and Ashwell the drunken college buddies who turn up every so often for some laughter and drunken debauchery. Also Henry Rackham jr, who had so much comic potential with his inability to actually talk to Mrs Fox and Caroline. However he was disposed of so quickly it left me in a complete confusion as to why he was there in the first place. Im afraid this book with its 20 years of research was completely pointless. But after reading so many good books a person must have a bad one to keep the appreciation alive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was completely intrigued by the beginning--after all, the novel was written in second person and seemed to invite me into the story. After the first few scenes, however, the author failed on this promise. I was ignored as Faber launched into what I would consider a nightmarish middle. Halfway through the book, I still didn't know what the point was! I was waiting to move on to some other characters (the opening promised I would meet numerous other characters, and I thought the story would continue to progress through the ranks of society). Let me sum up the five hundred pages of the middle-- 'Oh my gosh there's a whore with crusty skin and yet somehow I'm strangely attracted to her' (rackham) 'I don't want William to leave me, so I'm going to follow him to a million places and watch his every move so he won't leave me!!!! Waaaaaaaaaaaa!!!' (sugar) 'I want to follow the rules of society but I'm insane! I don't want anybody to know I'm insane, but I vomit all over the place (numerous times) so I guess the cat's out of the bag. But my guardian angel will help me!' (agnes). There, I've summed up the novel. So don't read it if you don't want pointless melodrama.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really like long, Victorian books but this one was a disappointment. All the characters do is, well, eachother, describe endlessly, and have dull, sporadic conversations about religion or prostitution. Not my cup of tea. The novel really dragged, and I confess I skipped a lot of pages. Even when the 'action' began, it left me blinking stupidly at the pages. This was supposed to be the climax? Years from now, if someone asks me if I read it, it will take me a moment to remember it. It left no lasting impression.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was thoroughly engrossed in the story, and completely disgusted at the end. Don't waste your time. The author didn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the book started out very interesting, but i got bogged down after 400 pages. i kept reading simply because i wanted to find out whether Sugar published her book or not. the plot became sketchy midway thru. the begining was great as he presents the story written in the 3rd party. this book all goes to show ,I could have written and been on the bestseller list.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is like some of those movies over-glamorized that turns out to be an inflated nothing. Interesting Details of Victorian life, o.k., but when the two protagonists seems interesting enough, and the reader has begun to relate to them, the story lags, drags, centers on the 'angelic' visions of the disturbed wife of the protagonist, the brother of the protagonist who would be a parson but feels unworthy cause the carnal desires he feels for a social worker, Emmeline Fox. Those three characters are the most colossal bores in modern literature. The books wanders, wawers, and in the end part is introduced the daughter of the male protagonist, completely ignored for the previous three quarter of the book. The ending leaves the reader completely disappointed, the non-plot ends abruptly in mid-air. What a waste of a book! There will be a sequel? Who cares! We have learned enough about hygienic conditions in down and out Victorian streets to last us a lifetime!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is 830 pages long. It is full of impressive language and descriptions, which give the author potential to be classic. I don't believe that Mr. Faber is as good writer as he thinks himself to be, or as well as reviewers believe him to be. I've never read Charles Dickens, but Faber has been compared to Dickens in several reviews, and I can safely say that if I tried to read Dickens, would be agony if he really is anything like Faber. The language pumps the reader up with anticipation for an extraordinary story, but fails miserably to deliver anything but disappointment and the feeling of being cheated when the last page is read. Cheated out of time, and possibly money if the reader purchased the book. The characters are deep, though at times extremely peculiar human beings. Faber did a good job in developing the characters, I can say that much in his defense, but he certainly didn't set up a very good story to correspond with the deep characters and their development(s). It seems to me that Faber did a lot of research and paid great attention to detail in the process of writing this colossal book (colossal in size and effort only), but unfortunately couldn't create a story to make its size necessary. The least he could've done was give the reader the satisfaction of an ending; even if it was an open-ended one. He is definitely unique in that he believes an ending is unnecessary for stories. If you have hours and weeks to spare of your time, read this book, for the language is impressive as I mentioned before, and the characters are worth knowing. But if it's plot and the satisfaction of an ending you're looking for... move onto the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a long time ago, so I can't remember everything about it, but I do remember disliking the book and feeling like it was a huge waste of my time. Some of the historical details were interesting, and it seemed very well researched. One of the critical reviews I read said it was one of the most erotic books of the year. I didn't think it was erotic at all; in fact, I was left wondering if the reviewer had read the same book I did. Long passages of it were boring, and I was frustrated that the ending was so open and didn't give me a resolution to the characters after I had invested 900+ pages. I usually like to reread books, but this is one on which I will pass on ever reading again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the very worst books I have ever read. It has pretensions to be a literary work yet is devoid of any merit. The writing is poor. The characterisation feeble. The story preposterous... William Rackham turns from idler to man of commerce overnight. His father hands him the business and disappears from view. A life-long prostitute, with no external assistance, has the skills to pass herself off as a governess. Yeah, right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing is masterful. Truly.
ImmortalBeloved More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I would read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are books in your library that you love to come back to once in a while - this is one of my favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read many books in my life; however, this one surpassed all my expectations. It is touching, moving, stimulating, and methodically brought to life. After reading the last line I wanted to throw the book against the wall--for all the reasons of great literature. For women, as well as for men, this is a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ending left me just gaping at the book. 'That's it?' I said to myself. It just....ended! No closure. No explanations! Nada! I was disappointed :(
Guest More than 1 year ago
This opus is set in Victorian England and is awash with a sundry of dramatic elements which make a book of this caliber a very interesting read. However, Faber's drawn out albeit vivid description is overwhelming--leaving the reader to be inundated by a sea of carelessly strewn adjectives. The ending also leaves something to be desired, it ends abruptly leaving the reader to wonder at the fate of the characters Faber has taken so long to create. In summation, Faber's book is nothing short of compelling in the way which he intricately weaves the lives of his vivid characters. However, for those who wish to see a plot unravel at a more quickened place, alas, this novel is not for you! In short, A worthy effort by a modern day Charles Dickens.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have mixed feelings about this book. Although I looked forward to taking time away from everyday life to read this book and thought about it a lot after reading it, it left me with so many unanswered questions... What happened to Agnes? I was waiting to hear what Sugar told her to do and the author kept teasing me that she may still be alive. Where can a prostitue turned governess, who has no references and is at large, hide in Victorian London with the privliged little girl she abducted? Is she planning to raise her by herself with the leftover money she aquired from Mr. Rackham? Why the need to have such detailed descripions of Henry Rackham Jr.(who rather bored me) when his character, I found, was not very important to the story? Even though the end disappointed me (I was almost angry by it), I still enjoyed the book. Maybe the person penning the movie will think up of a more creative ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It took a while to get into this book, but after the first 100 pages or so the characters started becoming real to me. It is astonishing how women were treated back then. I read a lot and recommend books to my friends but this one is not a simple read. Almost 900 pages and it took a week to finish but I was determined. The ending could have been a lot better, but you come to your own conclusion as to how everyone ends up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters became my concern. I enjoy how the author crafted each page, his word selection and pentameter; although I was let down by books end because the story didn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed how Michael Farber crafted each page, I completely enjoyed the story and I have recommended this book; the ending needs to be reworked, his editor blew it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read from Michael Faber. I really enjoyed reading this book and thought it was a great read until I got to the end. I was very disappointed. I was hoping for a great ending with some sort of closure, but instead I got left hanging. If I knew that it was going to end like it did I probably wouldn't have purchased it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm wondering if Mr. Faber was being paid by the page. If so, he should now be about ready to retire and I hope he does. Initially I was hooked by the intriguing opening of drawing the reader into the story. There was the allusion that I was an invisible, welcome, planned for, guest who was meant to be there. The other invisible guest (the author/narrator) would continue to interact with me because he could 'see' me and the other characters were not aware of our existence. The descriptive language allowed me to almost breathe the London air and truly imagine what the characters were experiencing. This may be the comparison to Dickens' works which hint at the same idea. However, Faber is not Dickens by any stretch of the imagination. Soon though, the invisible guest idea disappeared. So, after endless pages of character development and almost random jumping from one character and event to another, I expected some type of cohesive ending to see a reason for all the rambling. Instead it seems Mr. Faber just ran out of inspiration and steam and simply stopped. Even most mysteries tell you 'who done it' in the end. This one leaves you with nothing but a wondering of why you bothered to read it in the first place. There are too many other books out there that are far better. Don't waste your time on this one. I think I'll go reread David Copperfield.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was going pretty well but it seemed to drag in the middle with a lot of the same things happening over and over again. Then the author just left the reader with so many unanswered questions. Is there going to be a sequel? It didn't seem so, but I want to know what is going to happen to certain characters, and an explanation for what happened to Agnes. I hated being left to wonder what happened without any clue at all as to whether or not the story will continue in another book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The descriptions and details kept me interested enough to keep going. When the story lined picked up, I started to enjoy it. I invested money and time in this book and was very disappointed in the ending. If the auther intended a sequel, I won't buy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and story line but feel the reader was left up in the air with too many unanswered questions. Where and how is Agnes? Will William find Sophie? What is going to happen to Sugar? Will Emmeline Fox prove to be Sugar's savior? Do we need to wait another twenty years for Michael Faber to write a sequel (his original intention, perhaps) to answer these questions and give his readers closure? I hope not.