Every time I think about The Crimson Petal and the White I get goose bumps. I am not all together sure where those goose bumps come from but I get them all the same and that is how I know that this is in my short list for "Geeb's Favorite Books of All Times". It is a long book (895 pages) but from the very beginning you are into it deep. I love the way it starts:
"Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them. This city I am bringing you to is vast and intricate, and you have not been here before. You may imagine, from other stories you've read, that you know it well, but those stories flattered you, welcoming you as a friend, treating you as if you belonged. The truth is that you are an alien from another time and place altogether."
I feel like in this book Michel Faber became a modern day Dickens. He depicts a dark side of Victorian London with crazy characters that are up to no good and that you both love to hate and hate to love at the same time. Whores and their men; Mistresses and their servants; Masters and their Wives; Children and their Governesses. They all have an agenda here in this book and they are all using each other to get what they want.
The meat and potatoes of this store is about Sugar a lowly nasty lady of the night that catches the eye of William Rackham. Using her womanly ways she seduces William and starts to manipulate her way up the social ladder and right into William's house where he lives with his wife and daughter. I don't even want to ruin a minute of this book for you so I am not really going to expand on the plot line other than these few words.
This book is shocking, hateful, and very very sexy. Be prepared to be offended (if you are the kind that is offended even moderately), and be prepared to not be able to stop reading once you start.
P.S. I was walking through the book shop the other day and I noticed a book called The Apple by Michel Faber. It is a little hardback volume that looks like a novelty book but the back says that it is a collection of other Crimson Petal stories. I am not sure what that means but I will let you all know as soon as I read it!
The Crimson Petal and the White
by Michel Faber
If you like this book check out: I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb