In spite of one irritation, the massive The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber turned out to be a good book to take with me on my travels this week. The rich setting and even richer characterization of the novel were so captivating that I was able to drown out the noise of planes, the other passengers, and my own discomfort at being stuffed into a flying bus with too small chairs. Instead of all that, I was treated to a sprawling Victorian novel that explored lust, madness, neglect, hypocrisy, selfishness, altruism, prostitution, and religion. Faber’s characters are set up in opposition to each other so that, while they interact with each other, you get a chance to ponder how social status and life can push people into divergent trajectories...
Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.
I have read a lot of Dickens and some Trollop too and this is perhaps how Mr. Dickens would write about London today; a lot more vulgar.
The first half of the book may be difficult for some readers as it is very pointed about prostitution. Not sex; but about prostitutes and prostitution. There is nothing erotic here.
The plot and characters are well drawn by Mr. Faber. There are no 'bad' persons in the story to drive the plot, just the characters, their circumstances, their choices and the consequences as they try to improve their situation.
The Narrator in book is an interesting device, but I feel the device either should have been used either more or used less. There were times in the middle of the novel when the story took over and was then interrupted by the re-appearance of the Narrator.
This is one book you want to read without knowing much about it.
However, that makes writing a review for this book a hell of a task because I can't tell you about the salient points of this book that are both scary and funny at the same time.
And there were so many aspects modern life that Faber picked up and turned on their head in this - his first - book.
So, the only thing I will say is that it follows the story of Isserly, who picks up hitchhikers in northern Scotland and that I would be wary of hitching a ride on the A9.