Writer: Michel Faber
Publishing House: Canongate Books Ltd
Date of Publication: September 7th 2006 (first published 2004)
Rating: 5 stars
”Snow continues to whirl through the sky, the windowpanes rattle and creak, but still those damned partridges and turtledoves proliferate. Passerby must be tossing coins to this bawling nuisance; better they should throw stones.”
The Crimson Petal and the White is a novel that has acquired a modern classic status. Faber depicted the hypocrisy of the London upper class, the misery of the children and the women who were left destitute and unprotected, the dark side of a metropolis through the eyes of one of the most fascinating heroines to ever grace the pages of a book. Sugar.
Faber writes like a contemporary Dickens, freed from censorship, and strikes at the very heart of the story. However, The Crimson Petal and the White was one of the first novels that made me turn the book upside down in a serious moment of denial of the ending. The Apple is a collection of stories with the POVs of the characters that led us in the dark underbelly of London. Be warned, though. you won’t find the answers you may be looking for but you will find yourselves in the world of Sugar and enjoy the superb writing style of Faber once more.
Christmas in Silver Street: It’s Christmas Day and Sugar is walking London’s streets, observing and purchasing. Young Christopher has never understood what Christmas is all about and our favourite night butterfly is wondering on the ”modern” Christmas customs that are slowly taking over London. Michel Fabel makes everything feel like Christmas, even in the middle of August.
Clara and the Rat Man: Clara…This story is twisted and violent but also terribly sad. The underground London, the prostitution, the dog fights and the traumas of the returning soldiers.
Chocolate Hearts From the New World: Dr. Curlew’s determined daughter is fighting to convince the landlords in the USA to abolish slavery. It doesn’t hurt to find a love match in the process.
The Fly, and Its Effects Upon Mr Bodley: A ridiculous man experiences an existential crisis prompted by an equally ridiculous incident. Faber exposes the stupidity of the men who seek pleasure in a brothel in all its despicable pseudo-philosophy.
The Apple: Sugar contemplates on the nature of the novels of the time, dreams of writing her own version of the modern woman of the late 19th century and tries to defend an innocent child. Obviously, the story takes place before the events of the novel.
Medicine: William Rackham reminisces over his relationship with Sugar 15 years after the events of the novel. He still fails to see how much of a scum he actually is.
A Mighty Horde of Women In Very Big Hats, Advancing: Small wonder that the sole boring story in the collection has Sophie and her son as its main characters…
Two things you need to know, in my opinion. Firstly, it is highly advisable to have read The Crimson Petal and the White prior to reading this collection and secondly, you definitely don’t want to miss this if you are a Faber admirer.
”It is almost time to open your eyes; the twenty- first century is waiting for you, and you’ve been among prostitutes and strange children for too long.”