Grateful Web Book Club & Review 'The Crimson Petal and the White'

Submitted by kelly on Sat, 04/23/2005 - 4:29 am

Original title:  The Crimson Petal and the White

Translated in Dutch:  Lelieblank, Scharlaken Rood

Author:  Michel Faber

The author is born in Holland in 1960. Nowadays, he lives in Scotland. He writes novels and short stories. He won several prizes, such as the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. The Crimson Petal and the White is h is most recent book (2002).  More details about this author are given here.

Short summary:

The story takes place in London in 1875. The main character in this book is Sugar, a nineteen year old prostitute who wants to do something else with her life. One of her customers is William Rackham, an ambitious perfume manufacturer, who will offer her the life she wants. The book describes how Sugar climbs the social ladder…You find more information about this book on following websites:  (Dutch) & (English)

Our comments on the book:

-        The book is really thick (955 pages) but is really worth reading it.

-        It is written in a flowing style, and it is easy to visualize the situations described, which makes it even more agreeable.

-         One can imagine him- or herself very easily in William, and especially Sugar.

-         Now and then, you are reminded about the spirit of the time (i.e. 1875) through little details, which I liked very much.

-        Although the book is about a prostitute, there are no extensive descriptions of vulgarly sexual activities. Those who are looking for this kind of literature should consult other sources!

-         When I finished the book, I felt sad about having to let go Sugar. Like others said as well: you only want more of it!