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The crimson petal and the white
Michel Faber
Adult Fiction FABER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Faber's bawdy, brilliant third novel tells an intricate tale of love and ambition and paints a new portrait of Victorian England and its citizens in prose crackling with insight and bravado. Using the wealthy Rackham clan as a focal point for his sprawling, gorgeous epic, Faber, like Dickens or Hardy, explores an era's secrets and social hypocrisy. William Rackham is a restless, rebellious spirit, mistrustful of convention and the demands of his father's perfume business. While spying on his sickly wife's maid, whom he suspects of thievery, he begins a slow slide into depravity: he meets Sugar, a whore whose penetrating mind and love of books intrigues him as much as her beauty and carnal skills do. Faber (Under the Skin) also weaves in the stories of Agnes, William's delicate, mad and manipulative wife, and Henry, his pious, morally conflicted brother, both of whom seek escape from their private prisons through fantasies and small deceptions. Sin and vice both attract and repel the brothers: William, who becomes obsessed with Sugar, rescues her from her old life, while Henry, paralyzed by his love for Emmeline Fox, a comely widow working to rescue the city's prostitutes, slowly unravels. Faber's central characters, especially the troubled William and the ambitious Sugar, shine with life, and the author is no less gifted in capturing the essence of his many minor characters-the evil madam, Mrs. Castaway, and William's pompous father-in-law, Lord Unwin. The superb plot draws on a wealth of research and briskly moves through the lives of each character-whether major or minor, upstairs or downstairs-gathering force until the fates of all are revealed. A marvelous story of erotic love, sin, familial conflicts and class prejudice, this is a deeply entertaining masterwork that will hold readers captive until the final page. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The publisher has great expectations of this Dickensian jaunt, which award-winning novelist Faber has been researching and writing for 20 years. The setting is 1870s London, and the action centers on an ambitious young whore named Sugar, whose fight to escape her predicament brings her (and us) into the extended family of a perfume magnate. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Sugar
Female
Age: 19
Ambitious.
Prostitute

William Rackham
Male
Married
Perfume magnate.
Businessman

Agnes Rackham
Female
Married
William's wife; delicate; manipulative.

Henry Rackham
Male
William's brother; pious; morally conflicted.



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