Stock Image


Faber, Michel

31,970 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 015100692X / ISBN 13: 9780151006922
Published by Harcourt, New York, 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Kathleen Simpson (Simi Valley, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since July 15, 1998

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 50.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: Free Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

An 834 page historical novel set in Victorian England and 20 years in it's writing. Dust jacket is enclosed in a clear mylar cover. Bookseller Inventory # 14305

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Harcourt, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First US Edition

About this title


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.


Although it's billed as "the first great 19th-century novel of the 21st century," The Crimson Petal and the White is anything but Victorian. The story of a well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who spends her free hours composing a violent, pornographic screed against men, Michel Faber's dazzling second novel dares to go where George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss and the works of Charles Dickens could not. We learn about the positions and orifices that Sugar and her clients favor, about her lingering skin condition, and about the suspect ingredients of her prophylactic douches. Still, Sugar believes she can make a better life for herself. When she is taken up by a wealthy man, the perfumer William Rackham, her wings are clipped, and she must balance financial security against the obvious servitude of her position. The physical risks and hardships of Sugar's life (and the even harder "honest" life she would have led as a factory worker) contrast--yet not entirely--with the medical mistreatment of her benefactor's wife, Agnes, and beautifully underscore Faber's emphasis on class and sexual politics. In theme and treatment, this is a novel that Virginia Woolf might have written, had she been born 70 years later. The language, however, is Faber's own--brisk and elastic--and, after an awkward opening, the plethora of detail he offers (costume, food, manners, cheap stage performances, the London streets) slides effortlessly into his forward-moving sentences. When Agnes goes mad, for instance, "she sings on and on, while the house is discreetly dusted all around her and, in the concealed and subterranean kitchen, a naked duck, limp and faintly steaming, spreads its pimpled legs on a draining board." Despite its 800-plus pages, The Crimson Petal and the White turns out to be a quick read, since it is truly impossible to put down. --Regina Marler

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Modern Fiction and Mystery. New and used. Many signed. For further information, please contact me at 805-582-0162.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

Kathleen Simpson, 2992 Chippewa Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93063. Telephone and
fax number 805-579-9656. E-mail is Shipping and handling via
Media Mail. Priority mail available upon request. Shipping and handling is
quoted for heavy books and foreign orders. Full refund for books returned in
as-shipped condition within 10 days of shipping date, for any reason. Books can
be held for 10 days with E-mail or telephone request. Prices are subject to
change without notice until receipt o...

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Orders usually ship within 2 business days. See Terms of Sale below.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express