A teenage prostitute ascends through the many layers of Victorian London society in this highly acclaimed “big, sexy, bravura novel” (New York Times).
London, 1870s. At the heart of this panoramic narrative is a young woman’s struggle to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society begins with the egotistical perfume magnate William Rackham. Infatuated with Sugar, William’s patronage brings her into the circles of his family and milieu: his wife who barely overcomes chronic hysteria to make her appearances during “the Season”; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, left to the care of minions; his pious brother, foiled in his devotional calling by his lust for the Widow Fox; as well as 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 breathtakingly real characters.
"Cocky and brilliant, amused and angry, [Faber] is rightfully earning comparisons to observer extraordinaire Charles Dickens. . . . It's hopeless to resist" (Entertainment Weekly).
About the Author
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."
— The New York Times Book Review
"Tell[s] a good story grippingly and colorfully ... An old-fashioned page-turner with pleasingly new-fangled twists."
— The Washington Post Book World
"Gorgeous. Capable of rendering the muck of a London street and the delicate humming-bird flights of thought with equal ease."