The Crimson Petal and the White--Harper Perennial Canada Edition

by Michel Faber | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by Earthdance of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 9/23/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Earthdance from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, September 23, 2003
feeling very bookcrosser-otic, I went out and purchased this book from McNally Robinson's in WInnipeg, only to come home and discover that the edition McNallys is selling is not a Harcourt publication :( Oh well...

Journal Entry 2 by Earthdance from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Did anyone else have trouble getting used to the author's sudden changes in point of view? One moment we're getting third person, the next first from a narrator...and then, about mid-way, things seemed to really really crunch down into a very loooong read...picked up again after awhile, but one cant help but think the book is a tad too thick for the author's skills..especially since the ending is so unsatisfaactory.

Also, the constant use of modern day slang i found rather rude to my intellect ;) Did anyone else find it odd? I will probably keep this book on my own actual shelf for awhile, but only because its so new, shiny and fat :) It looks more impressive then i found it to be! But it wasnt terrible.

AND Now...I give you my fourth book ray....

Journal Entry 3 by Earthdance from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, November 17, 2003
Here is our list...

2. MarciNYC
3. Talkland
4. Jaysgirl
5. Tara-K
6. Brice
7. Deesse
8. Dani75
9. trygvasson

10. Blacksheeps99 (Austria)

11. Caracas (Germany - outside of contact)
12. Katayoun (Iran - asked to be skipped)
13. Monast (Malaysia)
14. Jawin (Australia)
15. Melydia (USA)
16. DrNoelle (USA)
17. hannahsc5 (Canada--can only ship within Canada)
18. SuorClarisse (Canada)
19. aaannddee (USA)
20. amber-h (USA)'s review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition

Journal Entry 4 by MarciNYC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, November 25, 2003
It's here! It's here! And after a slight snafu of a missing BCID, I am able to log it. (No worries Earthdance - it's marked properly now! *g*)

That said, I started reading it last night and I'm already hooked. Thank you for including me on this ring - it's the perfect "large" book to keep me occupied during Thanksgiving so I don't go postal on the rellies! Will journal again once I'm finished and ready to send it on to Talkland.

Journal Entry 5 by MarciNYC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Whew! I'm finished... Will be PMing TalkLand later tonight to get an address and will try to get this in the mail by Saturday! So, where do I begin without giving too much away?

First, to address Earthdance's comments - I HATED the change in the point of view. There were points where I just wanted to throw the book across the room when "YOU are following Caroline..." etc. Also, the Victorian slang interspered with the modern slang just didn't ring true to me.

Overall, I wasn't enamored of the book. I liked the concept, but I think this novel was a bold undertaking and perhaps the author wasn't ready for a book of this magnitude. By the end, I really didn't care for any of the characters and felt they all got their just desserts. For thick tomes and my reading pleasure, I think I'll stick to Gabaldon. At least I give a hoot about some of her characters!

Journal Entry 6 by MarciNYC at Sent to another bookcrosser in n/a, Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, December 04, 2003
Release planned for Saturday, December 06, 2003 at Sent to another bookcrosser in n/a, Bookray Controlled Releases.

On it's way to Talkland! Enjoy! Dpeending on price, it might go surface, so you may not get it until AFTER the holidays. If possible, it'll go airmail! :)

Journal Entry 7 by talkland from Eastbourne, East Sussex United Kingdom on Wednesday, December 10, 2003
A big fat book to read! Oh goodie! And this arrived in less than four days by surface. Woohoo for the postal service!

Journal Entry 8 by talkland from Eastbourne, East Sussex United Kingdom on Sunday, December 21, 2003
'The Crimson Petal And The White' is very thick and slow-going but I enjoyed it. I got a very in-depth look at the characters. It is set in C19th London and is about a prostitute and what happens to her when a wealthy man takes her from the brothel and sets her up as his mistress. We learn about this man [not particular nice character but he is not all bad], his ailing wife, neglected daughter and his brother and his vocation as a clergyman working with the poor.

The social history side of the novel is fascinating, the characters we meet engaging but the plot is a little thin and this is especially apparent in the last part of the book when the really interesting stuff happens with Agnes and Sugar and then nothing. To wade through 800 pages plus and to be left hanging is cruel!!!

Journal Entry 9 by Jaysgirl from Stockport, Cheshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Book just arrived, wow and what a book this is. Can't wait to get stuck in but will probably start it at the weekend - after the festivities!

Journal Entry 10 by Jaysgirl from Stockport, Cheshire United Kingdom on Thursday, January 29, 2004
I can not believe I have just sifted through 800 pages only to have it end like that.
For the most part I enjoyed the book and it's characters, most dissappointing finish.

I will post onto next BC'er on Monday.

Journal Entry 11 by Jaysgirl from Stockport, Cheshire United Kingdom on Thursday, February 12, 2004
Oops, sorry didn't get book mailed when I said I would. Have now just posted it onto Lukutoukka in Finland

Journal Entry 12 by Lukutoukka from Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Friday, February 20, 2004
I received the book, thank you Jaysgirl and Earthdance! :) I'm busy with my studies, so it may take a while before I can finish the book, though I'm really waiting forward to read it, of course. However, I try to read it as soon as I can. Please be patient, my friends. :)

Journal Entry 13 by Lukutoukka from Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Friday, May 21, 2004
Sent to Tara-K, at last. ;) I apologise you all for the delay, I have been far busier than I thought I would be when I joined the ray. :( Fortunately, I know you fellow Crossers are friendly people and hope you understand.

I don't give any stars because I hadn't time to finish the book. However, based on what I already read I would give at least 9 stars. :) When I have more time, I'm going to try to find this in my local library if they acquire it (they have a surprisingly good selection books in different languages). Then I can give the book my stars. :)

Happy reading, Tara-K, and greetings from (at this moment quite rainy) Finland! :)

Journal Entry 14 by tara-K from Oegstgeest, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, June 14, 2004
After sitting over a week in the post office while I was on a short vacation, I finally have the book in my hands. I've already started reading it, but it is so thick, I know it will take a while. I already find it intriguing. I find the point of view of the book a little strange though. It feels like I'm looking over the shoulder of the characters all the time instead of being one of the characters. It's still quite good anyway.

A month and a half later, I've finally finished the book. It was really a good book. I'm just sorry I wasn't able to sit down with it for longer periods of time. It took me a while thus, to really get into it. Once I did though, it kept me wanting to keep reading. As Earthdance mentioned, the point of view of the book was "different" and yes the use of modern phrases and "historical" quips was a bit "unsettling". I was constantly thinking a person from that time would not be saying or thinking that. I was a bit disappointed with the ending. I kept turning the pages of the last chapter expecting to find out and it never happened.

I'll be sending the book out to the next person on the list as soon as I get the address.

Journal Entry 15 by brice from Jacou, Languedoc-Roussillon France on Saturday, August 28, 2004
Received by mail yesterday. Thanks.

Journal Entry 16 by brice from Jacou, Languedoc-Roussillon France on Monday, January 17, 2005
I Give up.

This book seems very interesting but i have not the time to read it now. I keep the references and buy it in french.

Sorry EarthDance and thanks for your pms.

I'll send i to Deesse this week.

Journal Entry 17 by DEESSE from Erstein, Alsace France on Monday, February 14, 2005
It has arrived safely on Saturday. Thank you earthdance for starting this bookring and Brice for sending it on!
What a biiig book! It may take me some time to read it as I won't have a lot of time to read in the next few weeks, but I'll "attack" it pretty soon, I just have to finish the book I'm currently reading first.

Journal Entry 18 by DEESSE from Erstein, Alsace France on Wednesday, March 16, 2005
It was quite a gripping story... there were times when I just couldn't stop reading. Sugar's life was very interesting - and most of the other characters were quite well described, too. Mrs Fox (can she be called a "messie"?), Henry (why didn't they get it sorted a lot earlier???), Agnes and the two friends of William.
I'm a bit disappointed with parts of the end, though - even angry at William who I pitied a bit when his wife died... It left a feeling of "That's all? Was that it?"
I learned a lot about the Victorian time while reading this novel - and must say that I'm glad that I didn't live at this time as a woman. Even the "rich" ladies' lives seemed to me pretty boring, shared between attending the "season", doing embroidery, having dinner (with a lot of servants) or learning how to play the piano, waiting to get married. And the poor women's lives... rather scary!

Thanks earthdance for starting this bookring and thanks for everyone for passing it on.
I'll send it on once I've got the next bookcrosser's address.

Update 23.03.05:
I'll send it on to Dani75 this afternoon!

Journal Entry 19 by Dani75 from Rudersberg, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Tuesday, March 29, 2005
I received the book this morning in the mail! Looking forward to reading it!!

Journal Entry 20 by trygvasson from Hamburg - Hohenfelde, Hamburg Germany on Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The book arrived safely before the holidays - and I already started reading.
Sorry for journalling so late...

Journal Entry 21 by trygvasson from Hamburg - Hohenfelde, Hamburg Germany on Monday, May 23, 2005
I had some trouble to really get into the story - the overall picture of Victorian times is interesting alright and the author´s style of writing keeps the story moving. Although the plot is rather complex it´s still easy to follow the storyline.
At first, I liked the author´s twist of speaking directly to the reader: "Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them. This city I am bringing you to is vast and intricate." Too bad that he uses this twist too often and thus spoils it.
What I really don´t like is the occasional detour into language too modern - not in keeping with the detailled descriptions and jarring in comparison to the Victorian touches. And the ending is disappointing.

Not everyone can spin tales on a Dickensian scale. The good things of the story would fit into a book half as thick and it would make a more suspenseful read.

I´ll send the book on to Blacksheeps99 as soon as I have an address...


The book travels on to Austria.

Journal Entry 23 by blacksheeps99 on Thursday, June 02, 2005
Received this "little" *lol* book today and started reading the first pages. Under normal circumstances these 900 pages would be no problem for me (I love really thick books) - but I have soooo much to do at the moment that I hope I won´t keep it too long.

Thanks for sharing!!!!

Journal Entry 24 by blacksheeps99 on Sunday, July 10, 2005
I did it - I read all the 897 pages :-) And I enjoyed them very much!!!

The first 100 pages are quite "hard" - but when you start to know the characters this book is really very gripping! It´s´interesting to see Sugar´s change....

But I was a little "surprised" by the sudden ending - I wnat to know what happend to all of them :-)

Thanks for sharing - will be off to Germany as soon as I´ll get the address.

Aug 1st: Still no contact to next one on list - will try again

Aug 6th: Could make contact to Caracas and Katayoun asked to be skipped. Now I´m trying the next one.

Journal Entry 25 by blacksheeps99 on Thursday, August 11, 2005
Finally :-) The book is on its way to Malaysia to Monast. I hope it will be there soon.


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