the crimson petal and the white

dear michael faber,

i want my money back. i also want the outlaw’s money back. i also want all the time i invested in your wretchedly boring and ultimately unrewarding “crimson petal and the white.” what a goddamn drag. maybe, maybe the book would have been tolerable at 500 pages. but 800+ pages? are you kidding me? could you have concocted a more pathetic cast of characters?

i don’t think so. you killed off the only charming, endearing character half-way through this dreck. i should have quit while i was ahead. but i was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. you know, since donna tartt always starts out really slowly and drags you along for hundreds of pages and just when you think you’ve wasted all your time, she saves the day. you sir, did not save the day. you threw a bunch of characters at me and then around page 700 got bored with them (as i had been bored with them since about page 7) and just made them all disappear. what the hell was the point? where’s my conclusion? fuck, where the hell was the plot? the rising action? the climax? the resolution?

what the hell was the point? it was all lost on me. and really, that whole weird narrator who randomly appeared and disappeared? that was REALLY annoying. i should have known somewhere around page 60 when this weird random narrator asked if i was still paying attention that i was bound to wander. i only wish i had stopped then.

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  1. michael faber 27.Feb.03 at 9:25 am

    i’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight.

  2. Anonymous 15.Aug.03 at 4:25 pm

    please don’t michael. i thought it was a fabulous book…

  3. Anonymous 15.Aug.03 at 4:25 pm

    please don’t michael. i thought it was a fabulous book…

  4. menodoc 15.Sep.03 at 6:51 pm

    Is Sugar really planning to prostitute Sophie at the end???? William deserves all his losses, but not Sophie.

  5. Sheryl 28.Oct.03 at 12:19 pm

    The book is excellent. To be appreciated though someone must have intelligence higher than that of a monkey. I smell sequel in which Sugar and Sophie run A perfumery in America while William grovels at their feet!

  6. jodi 28.Oct.03 at 12:24 pm

    to appreciate this book you must not mind that the author condescends to you and shifts the narrative point of view so that the reader is actually adressed. that sucks ass and is jarring. i acknowledge it’s a liteary risk, and it’s just not the sort of thing i like.

  7. Maggie 31.Oct.03 at 4:25 pm

    I thought it was an amazing book. I felt like I was living in its world. And I’m left with this irritation, like an itch you can’t get to that keeps crawling all over your skin, of what happened to Sugar and Sophie? If I’m that irritated that the story didn’t go on, than it must have been a greatly involving novel. Such original style, exactly what this hopelessly predictable modern literature world needed!

  8. jan 02.Nov.03 at 1:01 pm

    Where’s the ending???? I cannot believe the book ends as it does.

    What truly happened the night Henry died?
    How did Mrs. Fox recover from consumption?
    Is Agnes truly dead?
    What happened to Sugar and Sophie?

    Please, please tell me there’s a sequel to this book and that these questions will be answered!

  9. jonny 04.Jan.04 at 3:35 pm

    This book is a brilliant pastiche of Dickens as well as other Victorian novelists including Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen and Emile Zola. It is easier to appreciate how good this book is if you have read ‘the Victorian novel’ but even if you haven’t it should be clear even to a ‘first-time reader’ that this is wonderfully written with a great story.Of the re4views I have read on the net very few – except the Irish Literary Press for some reason – have misunderstood the book. It is comioc genius. Faber uses pathos to make us sympathetic to Rackham but he and his brother,Henry, are hilarious; a kind of Frasier and Niles of 18th century England. Sugar is the most contemporary of women. She sees life through Candace Bergen’s eyes – a kind of Victorian Sex and the City. No, sugar doesn’t want to take Sophie into a world of prostitution – remember she ‘would rather die’- but in order to escape Cheesman she lets him lift her bustle.

    ‘Socialism” however, awaits.

  10. DEBBIE 04.Jan.04 at 6:51 pm


  11. Liz 23.Jan.04 at 10:48 pm

    I absolutely agree – the book was a waste of time. You are so right on about things.

  12. Lonnie 02.Feb.04 at 5:00 pm

    I am reviewing the book for my book club tonight. If so much passion can be aroused by literature, there is truly something right going on here. Its length is worth the effort – and leaves you hoping for more – which you must supply for yourself, if you’ve been drawn into the whole deal.

  13. Sarah 21.Aug.04 at 7:30 pm

    Yeah, I’m around page 680 or so, and I still haven’t found a plot. It’s well written, I’ll admit that, and Michael, I admire your passion and drive, but…blah. That’s all there is to it. My test for characters, in order to see if they’re real enough for me, is to describe their personality in three words. Sugar: slut, slut, and…hmmm…dirty slut? Yes, four words, I know. Now to Agnes: psycho, bipolar, and psycho again? Did you really mean to do that? Henry: lustful, yet artfully pious, and that’s about it. William, oh dearly annoying William: you boring, annoying to wits-end, arsehole! For one, prostitutes should be visited more often than you see Sugar, and you strike my mind’s eye as fat! So ha! Sophie is by far the only agreeable character, minus the fact that she only says things like “Yes Miss,” and “No Miss.” THAT, is annoying.

    Now, however much I may flame, it still is a good book. I happen to think it passes the time quiet well, and is funny. But other than that, well, see above.


  14. Blu 15.Oct.04 at 8:52 pm

    Jeez! Got the book, read 2 pages and was done. If ever my book turns out like that, please, someone, anyone take all my pens and paper away from me.

  15. maree 19.Jan.05 at 6:33 pm

    I loved the book. It has all the depth of a Victorian classic, but without any superfluous words. It was both comic and tragic and I love that because it is exactly how life is.
    I loved the heartbreaking love story between Mrs Fox and Henry. I loved that Sugar finally found love and saved Sophie from William. These characters were so frustratingly real. It is really encouraging that a man can get into the heads of women to such a degree. And William – what a character. He was so horrid but all the way through I was hoping that he would finally gain some wisdom but of course he just became worse. I read it on holiday, in big slabs the way a book of this kind deserves to be read.
    To the people who didn’t like the ending. A good book should always leave you wanting more &
    how could anyone possible believe that Sugar is a slut or that she could use Sophie for prostitution.