The Crimson Petal and the White‘s protagonist is Sugar, a self-educated prostitute and would-be novelist who seeks to move up in the rigid class system of 1870s London. She soon finds herself the favorite of William Rackham, a successful businessman in the perfume industry. Filled with fascinating characters and insight into the seedier parts of Victorian society, this novel is fulfilling, maddening, and thick enough to double as a doorstop.
“Sugar understood the permanence of being Sugar or Lotty or Lucy or whoever you might be, trapped on a square of card to be shown at will to strangers. Whatever violations she routinely submits to in the privacy of bedroom, they vanish the moment they’re over, half-forgotten with the drying of sweat. But to be chemically fixed in time and passed hand to hand forever: that is a nakedness which can never be clothed again.”
Michel Faber was born in The Hague, Netherlands and spent his childhood in Australia. He has published more than a dozen works; his most recent is The Book of Strange New Things. He currently lives in Scotland.
Length: 835 pages
Set in: London, England
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