The Crimson Petal and the White

by Michel Faber | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0156028778 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Aisling78 of Essex, Massachusetts USA on 6/25/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Aisling78 from Essex, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, June 25, 2006
Huge novel...895 pages. It began very abruptly, with the voice of an omnipotent narrator, which was very disconcerting to read. Thankfully, a few chapters into the novel that narrator’s voice faded. This book is about a 19-year-old prostitute in Victorian London, named sugar, who attempts to rise in society and better her position, by becoming the mistress of a perfume company owner named William Rackham, who was a weak, self-centered man. William’s wife is going insane, due to an undiagnosed brain tumor, his brother is a religious fanatic, his daughter Sophie is ignored and unloved by him, his wife, and even the nurse hired to care for her…there’s so many plot-lines and secondary characters that it is difficult to keep track, and everything is written with such incredible attention to detail that it’s easy to get caught up in the writing and loose track of how the plot is developing. Regardless…this book is still an amazing read, and one that was difficult to put down, because I was anxious to get to the end to learn how everything could ever become resolved. I was frustrated with the ending of this book. I can’t go into details without revealing the ending, but I felt that the book ended as abruptly as it began, which in hindsight does make sense, as the narrator in the first few chapters stated that this was to be just a glimpse into this world. But I have been unable to get this book off my mind, because it ended with so many issues unresolved. It was a fascinating book, very sordid in places (prostitution IS NOT glamorized and the descriptions given of that life are dark and horrifying), and I would be interested in reading other novels by this author someday.

Journal Entry 2 by Aisling78 from Essex, Massachusetts USA on Monday, January 15, 2007
I'm going to share this book as a bookray. (International if there is interest).

If you would like to join this ring please PM me with your location & shipping preferences.

Here are my guidelines, paraphrased from other bookcrossers:

* If you wish to be added to the list, please PM me with your details.

* You will be sending the book to the person who appears after you in the list, so please send a PM after the book arrives for their address, so there's minimal delay after you've completed the book. If the next in line does not respond to several PMs over a period of a few weeks, try posting an "In Search Of..." post in the forums, and contact me, and I'll reshuffle the shipping order.

* It's not a race, but please read and send the book on as speedily as you can; other people are dying to read it too! About two to three weeks is OK. (I understand when life gets in the way -- but please PM me if you've had the book in your possession for longer than a month, so I don't worry that it's lost for good!)

* Please journal the book once you have received it (so we all know where it currently is) and again when you have read it (so we know what you thought of it -- part of what I love about Bookcrossing is hearing other's opinions of books I've loved).

* If you're the last person on the list please use your best judgment as to where the book goes next, RABCK, another ray or ring, or wild release...I'd just prefer that the book continues to travel rather than sit on a bookshelf collecting dust.

* Enjoy! It's supposed to be fun!

Bookray participants:

AngDS -- Colorado (ships w/in US only)
dallasjay -- California (ships w/in US only)
** ship back to me so I can send it to Canada **
GateGypsy -- Canada (can ship internationally)
darkhorse4460 -- United Kingdom (can ship internationally)
minabomb -- Portugal (can ship internationally)
samulli -- Germany (can ship internationally)
voveryte -- Lithuania (prefer shipping within Europe)
LeishaCamden -- Norway (prefer shipping within Europe)

Journal Entry 3 by AngDS from Denver, Colorado USA on Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I rcvd this book a little while ago and then travelled with it so I whipped through it pretty fast. I was feeling daunted by the length, but that turned out not to be a problem at all. Very good book! dallasjay asked to be skipped so it will be on its way back to Aisling78 early next week.

I liked the narrator voice, that sort of commentary as we adjusted to the world was amusing. It almost lost me in the middle because I just didn't understand, nor really find it believable (for both William and Sugar), that Sugar moved into the family home as a governess. Just don't know about that. I felt bad for the wife because she just seemed so doomed between her lack of education and the condition of medical knowledge at the time. And I felt bad for the doctor's daughter - having missed a chance at happiness due to her religious fervor and the strictures on communication. I agree with Aisling78 in that the ending was VERY abrupt. Ultimately though, I thought the ending hopeful. I agree lots of things in the air - but it could end well. I like to think Sophie was better off. Definitely a good read!

Journal Entry 4 by Aisling78 from Essex, Massachusetts USA on Friday, March 23, 2007
This book arrived home safely earlier this week. Dallasjay asked to be skipped, so I'll be shipping it to GateGypsy in Canada as soon as I receive an address.

Journal Entry 5 by GateGypsy from Ladysmith, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Wow, this was a surprise showing up in my mailbox! (would you believe it fit in there? **laughs**)

I honestly had no idea this one was coming, but I'm very glad it's here. A friend of mine in Australia raved on and on abot this book, but the cost of shipping it from Australia to me, internationally (in Japan at the time and in Canada now) was too prohibitive. That would be why I signed for this ray, way back when.

Right now I am bowed low under a great weight of academic assignments (I have to read 13 novels and write 8 essays this semester, not to mention my psych text, and mid-terms and finals), so I will up-front admit that there's no way I'll get to this before April at the earliest, when the semester is over. That being said, I am eager to get to it when the time permits me! Thanks so much for sharing this, Aisling78, and thank you in advance for your patience. When I have finished, I assure you your book will continue its journey!

July 15th: I am too embarassed that I still have this book. Having proven to myself that, at least for me, bookrings and my current lifestyle do not mix, I relinquish this book to the next in line. I have darkhorse's addy, and will have this in the post tomorrow.

Journal Entry 6 by darkhorse4460 from Bletchingdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Saturday, August 29, 2009
From Whitehorse to Darkhorse, this plopped through my letterbox this morning with quite a loud bang. Thank you GateGypsy - sorry about the pestering and good luck your studies - and everything else!!

I've been looking forward to this one for ages and may start to wade into it this holiday weekend.

Journal Entry 7 by darkhorse4460 from Bletchingdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Monday, October 05, 2009
How to write a short review for such an enormous novel?

First of all I liked it a lot, even though it was not quite what I expected.

This is not a fast moving thriller set in Victorian times with crimes, mysteries and a twisty plot, its a long slow burning study of character and relationships. I can see it might not be to everyone’s taste, some might feel that not a lot happens or that what happens could be compressed into a quarter of the space. But we’re with these people so long that we come to know them intimately – very intimately in some cases - and what is happening to them comes to really matter. I found it gripping.

Others have commented on the omniscient narrator who invites the reader personally into the darker parts of Victorian London and into the minds of the characters. At the beginning he’s a bit arch and pleased with himself and makes the reader feel uncomfortable about being there, but as the novel moves on the voyeurism becomes a bit more subtle.

The three main characters of William, Sugar and Agnes are brilliantly done, complex and enfuriating and fascinating and somehow between them embodying much that was wrong with Victorian society, particularly in its treatment of women. Sugar is a classic type from literature and history, the woman who survives by using her intelligence and her sexuality to manipulate men, but she’s also sympathetic, vulnerable, scary and witty and a bit of a nod to the future of womankind. The secondary characters of Henry, Emmeline and Sophie are also wonderfully observed and poignant in their different ways.

I enjoyed the attention to period detail of all aspects of ordinary life for people in different social classes such as food, clothes, entertainment, transport, shopping, and those things we always wonder about but aren’t normally told about relating to sex, bodily functions and hygiene – not for the squeamish. Period detail here, not meant as a pun!!!

I think I imagined this book would be ‘sexier’ than it is. From a female point of view (at least mine anyway) it is not remotely erotic, except maybe a glimpse in the relationship between Emmeline and Henry.

Yes the ending was rather sudden and the whole left a lot of ‘what if’ questions making the reader work hard. Maybe not such a bad thing and supplying endless fodder for book groups!!

Definitely a memorable reading experience if you have the time to dedicate to it!!

I'll be contacting the next person on the list shortly.

Journal Entry 8 by darkhorse4460 at To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, October 10, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (10/10/2009 UTC) at To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Sent on its way to minabomb in Portugal today.

Journal Entry 9 by minabomb from Estoril, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Received today. It's very big, i was surprised. Oh lord, gonna take a while to read this one, at least 2 months i guess, but i'll keep an update.
Thanks for sharing**

Thanks darkhorse4460 for the postcard, never been to oxford, hope some day it will be possible. I'll use it as a bookmark :)

Dec 4, 2009. I'm reading this book, but slowly, so i may take a while more to finish it. Sorry for the delay.

Dec 18, 2009. I read half of the book by now. Contacted Samulli for his address, but he already read this book.

Journal Entry 10 by minabomb from Estoril, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Monday, December 28, 2009
I've finished the book and I'm a little disappointed by the story. I've read it with great effort, not so because of the language but for the author's writing and some expressions. In the beginning i was a little doubtful in continuing it, but the cover promised many good things, keep me interested, that the book in the end didn't fulfill. The story could be told in a book with less pages and the end, my god, very weak, in the end all the characters destiny is incognito...i think, considering all the books i read this year, that this one gets the prize for "Waste of time".
Nevertheless, thanks for sharing.

I've send messages for the two BC's left on the list. I had send an pm to voveryte and didn't get an answer so I'm sending another one.

30 Dez 09 - Voveryte replied that have already read this book.

19 January 2010 - Send to LeishaCamden by post mail.

Journal Entry 11 by LeishaCamden from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This book arrived in my mailbox a couple of days ago. What a brick! :-) I actually got hold of another copy a while back, but didn't get around to reading it yet ... and that copy's in Norwegian, so despite what I told you, Aisling78, I may end up reading this copy anyway. :-) I prefer reading books in the original language if possible.

Will possibly read and will definitely release. :-)

Journal Entry 12 by LeishaCamden at Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Monday, April 06, 2015
I can't believe I haven't journaled this book yet ... !! to say that I have indeed read it, long ago now in fact. I really really enjoyed it, didn't find the plot entirely credible but the book was well enough written that I was easily able to suspend my disbelief. :-) SO sorry to have kept the book for so long ... !! Now it will travel with me to the BC convention in Oxford where it will hopefully find a new reader in just a few days. :-)

Released 4 yrs ago (4/11/2015 UTC) at Bookcrossing Convention 2015 in Oxford, Oxfordshire United Kingdom


Releasing this as part of the book buffet at this year's BookCrossing convention! :-)

Journal Entry 14 by wingshnedwardswing at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Monday, April 13, 2015
Picked up from the book buffet. I've been meaning to read this book for ages. Now all I need is a nice long, quiet holiday to read it! Thanks for bringing this well-travelled book to the Convention, Leisha!

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