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Enjoy more Sugar. Join Clara at the rat pit. Relax with Mr Bodley as he is lulled to sleep by Mrs Tremain and her girls. Find out what became of Sophie. Michel Faber revisits the world of his bestselling novel The Crimson Petal and the White, conjuring tantalising glimpses of its characters, their lives before we first met them and their intriguing futures. You'll be desper Enjoy more Sugar. Join Clara at the rat pit. Relax with Mr Bodley as he is lulled to sleep by Mrs Tremain and her girls. Find out what became of Sophie. Michel Faber revisits the world of his bestselling novel The Crimson Petal and the White, conjuring tantalising glimpses of its characters, their lives before we first met them and their intriguing futures. You'll be desperate for more by the time you reluctantly re-emerge into the twenty-first century.


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Enjoy more Sugar. Join Clara at the rat pit. Relax with Mr Bodley as he is lulled to sleep by Mrs Tremain and her girls. Find out what became of Sophie. Michel Faber revisits the world of his bestselling novel The Crimson Petal and the White, conjuring tantalising glimpses of its characters, their lives before we first met them and their intriguing futures. You'll be desper Enjoy more Sugar. Join Clara at the rat pit. Relax with Mr Bodley as he is lulled to sleep by Mrs Tremain and her girls. Find out what became of Sophie. Michel Faber revisits the world of his bestselling novel The Crimson Petal and the White, conjuring tantalising glimpses of its characters, their lives before we first met them and their intriguing futures. You'll be desperate for more by the time you reluctantly re-emerge into the twenty-first century.

30 review for The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ''Snow continues to whirl through the sky, the windowpanes rattle and creak, but still those damned partridges and turtledoves proliferate. Passerby must be tossing coins to this bawling nuisance; better they should throw stones.'' The Crimson Petal and the White is a novel that has acquired a modern classic status. Faber depicted the hypocrisy of the London upper class, the misery of the children and the women who were left destitute and unprotected, the dark side of a metropolis through the ''Snow continues to whirl through the sky, the windowpanes rattle and creak, but still those damned partridges and turtledoves proliferate. Passerby must be tossing coins to this bawling nuisance; better they should throw stones.'' The Crimson Petal and the White is a novel that has acquired a modern classic status. Faber depicted the hypocrisy of the London upper class, the misery of the children and the women who were left destitute and unprotected, the dark side of a metropolis through the eyes of one of the most fascinating heroines to ever grace the pages of a book. Sugar. Faber writes like a contemporary Dickens, freed from censorship, and strikes at the very heart of the story. However, The Crimson Petal and the White was one of the first novels that made me turn the book upside down in a serious moment of denial of the ending. The Apple is a collection of stories with the POVs of the characters that led us in the dark underbelly of London. Be warned, though. you won't find the answers you may be looking for but you will find yourselves in the world of Sugar and enjoy the superb writing style of Faber once more. Christmas in Silver Street : It's Christmas Day and Sugar is walking London's streets, observing and purchasing. Young Christopher has never understood what Christmas is all about and our favourite night butterfly is wondering on the ''modern'' Christmas customs that are slowly taking over London. Michel Fabel makes everything feel like Christmas, even in the middle of August. Clara and the Rat Man : Clara...This story is twisted and violent but also terribly sad. The underground London, the prostitution, the dog fights and the traumas of the returning soldiers. Chocolate Hearts From the New World : Dr. Curlew's determined daughter is fighting to convince the landlords in the USA to abolish slavery. It doesn't hurt to find a love match in the process. The Fly, and Its Effects Upon Mr Bodley : A ridiculous man experiences an existential crisis prompted by an equally ridiculous incident. Faber exposes the stupidity of the men who seek pleasure in a brothel in all its despicable pseudo-philosophy. The Apple : Sugar contemplates on the nature of the novels of the time, dreams of writing her own version of the modern woman of the late 19th century and tries to defend an innocent child. Obviously, the story takes place before the events of the novel. Medicine : William Rackham reminisces over his relationship with Sugar 15 years after the events of the novel. He still fails to see how much of a scum he actually is. A Mighty Horde of Women In Very Big Hats, Advancing : Small wonder that the sole boring story in the collection has Sophie and her son as its main characters… Two things you need to know, in my opinion. Firstly, it is highly advisable to have read The Crimson Petal and the White prior to reading this collection and secondly, you definitely don't want to miss this if you are a Faber admirer. ''It is almost time to open your eyes; the twenty- first century is waiting for you, and you've been among prostitutes and strange children for too long.'' My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    In 2003 The Crimson Petal and the White was published to much acclaim. I read it and awarded it five plump wobbly stars. But other readers had other reactions. In his forward to this slender collection of short stories, Mr Faber says that he gets letters from his readers and he keeps them in a box. So that’s surprising right there – who writes to authors? I would never have the nerve. I mean, what would you say to Shakespeare? Dear Bard, I must say that I thought The Tempest was a wonderful note In 2003 The Crimson Petal and the White was published to much acclaim. I read it and awarded it five plump wobbly stars. But other readers had other reactions. In his forward to this slender collection of short stories, Mr Faber says that he gets letters from his readers and he keeps them in a box. So that’s surprising right there – who writes to authors? I would never have the nerve. I mean, what would you say to Shakespeare? Dear Bard, I must say that I thought The Tempest was a wonderful note on which to bring down the curtain, as it were, on your illustrious career. You are my favourite Elizabethan playwright. Have a wonderful retirement. Your friend, P Bryant. Dear Brett Easton Ellis, I have now spoken with my lawyers and if you attempt to contact me again or come within 100 yards of myself and my immediate family (note – mother in law not counted as immediate) you will be in breach of the court order and prompt action will be taken. Yours, P Bryant. Anyway, Mr Faber received letters saying “Why do you make me suffer more?” and “I implore you, please please please” and another said “The Crimson Petal is the most frustrating, maddening masterwork that I have ever trudged through in my life…novels are supposed to have satisfying tight endings…” so basically everyone got to the end, all 835 pages, and found there was no ending, it just stopped. It was like the old refrain : “if you want any more you can sing it yourself”. It was really a bit rude. 835 pages and no ending? People really got into this novel. He quotes a note from a gentlemen in Lancashire : A few days before Christmas I was half awake and the first thought that came to me was what I could obtain as Christmas presents for Miss Sophie, Sugar, and Mrs Fox. Then suddenly I realised who they really were. Well, Mr Faber relented, kind of, and wrote this collection of stories about the fates of the characters in his giant novel. It does answer most questions, and I thought it was splendid, but I’m pretty much a Faber fanboy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    Despite the 2*, this is not exactly a bad book, merely opportunistic, frustrating and hugely disappointing after the wonderfully rich novel which it relates to, The Crimson Petal and the White (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...), “TCP”. There’s little point reading this collection unless you have read TCP, but huge disappointment if you have. I really wouldn’t advise anyone to read it. Where TCP was a luxuriously long, deep novel, this is half a dozen very short stories, jumping on that ba Despite the 2*, this is not exactly a bad book, merely opportunistic, frustrating and hugely disappointing after the wonderfully rich novel which it relates to, The Crimson Petal and the White (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...), “TCP”. There’s little point reading this collection unless you have read TCP, but huge disappointment if you have. I really wouldn’t advise anyone to read it. Where TCP was a luxuriously long, deep novel, this is half a dozen very short stories, jumping on that bandwagon. In a lengthy Foreword that includes too much fan mail, Faber attempts to justify publishing these stories, but most of them are barely a snapshot, which could work, but really didn’t for me. It even opens with “Close your eyes”, an echo of the familiar “Watch your step”, but that only compounds the impression of a poor pastiche. The first story illustrates Sugar’s love for Christopher, which perhaps makes her love for Sophie (never quite convincing enough, I thought) more plausible, but it is too mawkish. The second story tells of a once respectable woman who has become a prostitute (very different form Sugar’s childhood initiation), focusing on a client with an unusual and increasingly unsavoury fetish. We get a glimpse of the teenage years of Emmeline Fox ( neé Curlew), which is enlightening, but not exactly riveting. Bodley has an existential moment, which was quite a surprise, but I never found him a very fleshed out or engaging character, and I felt much the same afterwards. The eponymous story, “The Apple”, is a snippet of Sugar’s time at Mrs Castaway’s. It briefly explores what drove Sugar to attempt her novel and shows her ambitions at the early stage, when she first realised the usefulness of bluffing erudition, but I’m sure I was not the only reader to have surmised most of that already. We catch up with William, a decade or more after TCP ended, but I preferred the ambiguity at the end of TCP over this, rather weak addition. William’s rewriting of history is perhaps not surprising in a man of his time, but it shows him in an unequivocally nastier light than in TCP: he blames Sugar for his subseqeunt misfortune, entirely overlooking that the only reason he had it was because he built the business first for her, and then with her. The final story is reminiscences of an old man in the 1990s. It is the most complete story, and there are interesting aspects, but like the others, it takes away some of the mystery, without leaving the reader with anything remotely satisfying in return. Despite the above, there are a few good thoughts: • “Snow makes everyone and everything look equal.” • The “original sin – of being born.” • The prostitute’s paradox: “She’ll display every detail of her naked body to her customers, but she won’t allow passers by to ogle her outside of working hours.” • Of Anthony Trollope, “He may be refreshingly unsentimental, but he always pretends he’s on the woman’s side, then lets the men win.” • “Reading… is an admission of defeat… it shows that you believe other lives are more interesting than yours.” The good news is that a completely separate collection of short stories, "Some Rain Must Fall", shows that Faber can write wonderful short stories (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Martine

    The Apple is a hard book to rate. On the one hand, I enjoyed the seven stories contained in it for the additional glimpse they provide into the lives of the characters of The Crimson Petal and the White, one of the best novels I've read this year. On the other hand, they don't provide nearly enough glimpses for my liking, and I doubt they'll appeal much to people who haven't read The Crimson Petal. So. Yeah. Conundrum! Three of the stories in The Apple are set before the events of The Crimson Pet The Apple is a hard book to rate. On the one hand, I enjoyed the seven stories contained in it for the additional glimpse they provide into the lives of the characters of The Crimson Petal and the White, one of the best novels I've read this year. On the other hand, they don't provide nearly enough glimpses for my liking, and I doubt they'll appeal much to people who haven't read The Crimson Petal. So. Yeah. Conundrum! Three of the stories in The Apple are set before the events of The Crimson Petal. They show Sugar treating Christopher to a nice Christmas meal at Mrs Castaway's, Sugar having to deal with proselytising evangelists, and Emmeline writing letters to American slave owners. They're nice enough stories, but to my critical eye, they look rather like outtakes from the book with which Faber couldn't quite part. The remaining four stories, which take place after the ending of The Crimson Petal, are much better in my opinion. I delighted in seeing the unpleasant fate of Clara, the Rackhams' evil servant. I grinned at Mr Bodley's unenthusiastic visit to a brothel, which culminates in a laugh-out-loud encounter with a Malaysian prostitute who hasn't had a chance to learn proper English yet. I nodded with satisfaction at the poetic justice of William Rackham's fate. And most of all, I relished the opportunity to see what had become of Sophie Rackham, and how she had implemented the lessons Miss Sugar taught her. Sophie's is an interesting, occasionally poignant tale with some nice historical tangents -- the best in the collection, I think. But as much as I enjoyed the various vignettes, they didn't satisfy me. I wanted more. I wanted to hear what had become of Caroline and the Rackhams' lecherous driver. I wanted to hear what had become of Christopher, the young brothel boy. And most of all, I wanted to hear -- in detail! -- what had become of Sugar, The Crimson Petal's heroine. Amazingly enough, Sugar's post-Petal life hardly gets a mention in The Apple. We learn where she took Sophie and that they did a bit of exploring together, but we never find out what Sugar ended up making of herself. Nor do we get a full account of Sugar's post-abduction relationship with Sophie, or find out what Sophie really felt about the abduction, because the one time the subject is brought up is in a story which isn't told from Sophie's point of view. Seriously, how sucky is that? As for the stand-alone value of The Apple, I don't think it has any. Sure, the stories have their charms, and the one about Sophie's later years is actually quite interesting from a historical point of view, but I doubt they'll mean much to people who aren't already familiar with the characters. Nor do I think they make particularly good examples of the short story in general. Faber may be a fabulous novelist, but short stories aren't his forte, and it shows here. The seven stories in The Apple are a very nice try, but they don't live up to the expectations raised by The Crimson Petal. Then again, very few things do. I know Faber has said he won't write a sequel to The Crimson Petal and the White, but I'm harbouring a secret hope that the fact that there's hardly any information on Sugar's post-Petal life in The Apple means that Faber intends to write a full-length account of it elsewhere. If that ever happens, I'll be first in line to read it. ------- ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Short stories about the characters from The Crimson Petal and the White, which you should all read because it's amazing!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    This is nowhere near as good or as rich as The Crimson Petal and the White. I knew it wouldn't be, but I did expect more subtext from this author. Don't let the 199 page-count fool you either. The physical pages are short, the font is fairly big and it reads quickly. I bought it for a pittance at a library sale, so I'm fine with that, and it is a pretty little book with its own ribbon marker. The stories are technically standalones (a point Faber makes in his foreword), but I wonder how much inte This is nowhere near as good or as rich as The Crimson Petal and the White. I knew it wouldn't be, but I did expect more subtext from this author. Don't let the 199 page-count fool you either. The physical pages are short, the font is fairly big and it reads quickly. I bought it for a pittance at a library sale, so I'm fine with that, and it is a pretty little book with its own ribbon marker. The stories are technically standalones (a point Faber makes in his foreword), but I wonder how much interest someone who hasn't read The Crimson Petal and the White would have in them. For me, the best thing about this book is its causing me to recall from the novel favorite scenes, such as the luminous visit to the lavender fields, even though I read it several years ago. In the foreword Faber references letters he received from fans after they finished The Crimson Petal and the White (space filler?) which was fairly interesting, as were as his responses. He goes on to say that the last story (the longest) is as satisfying to him as one of his best novels (I'm paraphrasing) and with that I feel he's being disingenuous. The story, with its narrator's giving us a glimpse of his Edwardian life from the vantage point of his now-great age in the 20th century, has a great title and a metafictional element (two lines) that seem to reference those 21st century fans that clamored for a sequel to The Crimson Petal and the White. I am not one of those fans: I was wholly satisfied with the novel as is and I may go reread certain passages of it right now.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*

    Little collection of spin-off stories about characters from The Crimson Petal and the White I personally think, that although I enjoyed this, (because of the wonderful characters) it was just an excuse for the author to cash in on Petals’ popularity without having to write a proper sequel. I particularly liked the final chapter “A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing”. That title is just utterly divine! Also, whom was narrating said chapter. I won’t disclose who! 3.5 stars rounded do Little collection of spin-off stories about characters from The Crimson Petal and the White I personally think, that although I enjoyed this, (because of the wonderful characters) it was just an excuse for the author to cash in on Petals’ popularity without having to write a proper sequel. I particularly liked the final chapter “A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing”. That title is just utterly divine! Also, whom was narrating said chapter. I won’t disclose who! 3.5 stars rounded down to 3.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yuqi

    I enjoyed reading some of the stories. It has been a few years since I read the Crimson Petal and the White, and it was fun to recognize names. I matched a few characters up to the wrong names and forgot some characters entirely, but none of that affected my understanding of the stories. Had it not been for one particular quote that I really, really liked, I could have gone without reading this collection. In my mind, I knew how Sugar would turn out. The ending of The Crimson Petal and the White I enjoyed reading some of the stories. It has been a few years since I read the Crimson Petal and the White, and it was fun to recognize names. I matched a few characters up to the wrong names and forgot some characters entirely, but none of that affected my understanding of the stories. Had it not been for one particular quote that I really, really liked, I could have gone without reading this collection. In my mind, I knew how Sugar would turn out. The ending of The Crimson Petal and the White didn't bother me as much as others, and I would have been happy to stick with my imagined futures for the characters. Christmas in Silver Street: very sweet, an illustration of Sugar's maternal instincts, which also explain her affinity for Sophie Clara and the Rat Man: I forgot who Clara was, but she's a whore now who completes a strange request for one of her customers. The motive behind the request is pretty twisted, if I've interpreted the ending correctly. (view spoiler)[I suspect that the guy wanted to feel the scratching of a rat in his arse, but then what does the war veteran status signify? (hide spoiler)] Chocolate Hearts from the New World: cute, but not very interesting The Fly, and Its Effect upon Mr Bodley: in which Mr Bodley has an existential crisis. The story tries too consciously to make me think about the pointlessness of repeated activities. I liked the phrasing of the last few lines though. The Apple: my favorite of the collection. The plot is less memorable than the other stories, but made worth it by the following gems: "Reading, by its very nature, is an admission of defeat, a ritual of self-humiliation: it shows that you believe other lives are more interesting than yours" "In every story she reads, the women are limp and spineless and insufferably virtuous. They harbour no hatred, they think only of marriage, they don't exist below the neck, they eat but never shit. Where are the authentic, flesh-and-blood women in modern English fiction? There aren't any!" Both passages capture exactly what I've felt while reading at sometime or another. Medicine: poor William, is all I can say. Happiness evades William quite excessively here. I'd rather keep my own idea of how his life turned out. A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing: well, you find out what happens to Sophie, whose outcome as a headstrong woman didn't surprise me. Neither the prose nor story captured me, though I appreciated Faber's commentary on what was considered unnatural for women at the time. I appreciated these lines in particular: "playful phantoms, ducking behind one another, running round and round our cab" "what happens to music once it's gone inside your ears"

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Ok folks, first things first. If you haven’t read The Crimson Petal and The White, then please don’t read this collection of short stories. It is worthless. Thankfully, Amazon will give you a discount on a group purchase. Secondly, following the bestseller success of The Crimson Petal, Cannongate have made the commercial decision to let Faber treat us to some literary nuggets and allow us back into the lives of the central characters from the first book with glimpses into both the past and the fu Ok folks, first things first. If you haven’t read The Crimson Petal and The White, then please don’t read this collection of short stories. It is worthless. Thankfully, Amazon will give you a discount on a group purchase. Secondly, following the bestseller success of The Crimson Petal, Cannongate have made the commercial decision to let Faber treat us to some literary nuggets and allow us back into the lives of the central characters from the first book with glimpses into both the past and the future. We get another glimpse into Sugar’s life before meeting William Rackham, and in this story there are four sentences that highlight the part of the nature of Faber’s Crimson Petal stories: “In every story she reads, the women are limp and spineless and insufferably virtuous. They harbour no hatred, they think of only marriage, they don’t exist below the neck, they eat but never shit. Where are the authentic, flesh-and-blood women in modern English fiction? There aren’t any!” In return for our commercial loyalty to the author, we learn of Sophie’s fate through the memories of her son. The maternal affection and bonding, so painfully absent in The Crimson Petal, is now fully realised. Does Faber rekindle the readers desire for Sugar’s life story? Yes, this is achieved. But this tome is a crude commercial vehicle to keep us engaged, like a well executed, brand reminding, marketing exercise, designed to maintain our interest whilst the movie-makers struggle to deliver on their option. The door into Sugar’s life is blatantly and deliberately ajar, and like all the best prostitutes, the reader is left with the temptation to meet with her again. Whether we will be persuaded to part with our money for a second collection of short stories is another question?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laysee

    The Apple is a collection of new crimson petal stories that would appeal to readers who have enjoyed Faber’s Victorian epic, The Crimson Petal and the White. I was glad to be once again in the company of Sugar (intellectual whore turned governess) Sophie (Perfumer William Rackham’s little girl abducted by her governess), Clara (the maid who’d been dismissed from the Rackham household), Dr Curlew (the Rackham family physician) and his horse-face daughter (Emmeline Fox who survived consumption), B The Apple is a collection of new crimson petal stories that would appeal to readers who have enjoyed Faber’s Victorian epic, The Crimson Petal and the White. I was glad to be once again in the company of Sugar (intellectual whore turned governess) Sophie (Perfumer William Rackham’s little girl abducted by her governess), Clara (the maid who’d been dismissed from the Rackham household), Dr Curlew (the Rackham family physician) and his horse-face daughter (Emmeline Fox who survived consumption), Bodley (William’s incorrigibly bawdy friend), and of course, the self-serving cad (William himself) who had seemingly lost both wife and daughter. Faber offers interesting glimpses into the lives of these characters – some stories going farther back in time to pre-Crimson Petal days and a few moving forward post-Crimson Petal. Though not intended as a sequel, The Apple let it be known that Sugar and Sophie survived well and this imparted a small measure of comfort to readers like me who had grown fond of them. The Apple lacks the magnetic energy of its predecessor but nonetheless makes a good read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    DebsD

    4-and-a-bit stars. This has been on my tbr since I read The Crimson Petal and the White a year ago (almost exactly a year ago - I finished this on December 30th, having finished up TCP&TW on December 31st last year - if I'd realised that, I'd have planned better and set this aside to finish tomorrow lol) - and this was just lovely. The writing is just as good as in the book on which it's based, and while this is a series of short stories rather than a full novel, it felt - surprisingly, to me - 4-and-a-bit stars. This has been on my tbr since I read The Crimson Petal and the White a year ago (almost exactly a year ago - I finished this on December 30th, having finished up TCP&TW on December 31st last year - if I'd realised that, I'd have planned better and set this aside to finish tomorrow lol) - and this was just lovely. The writing is just as good as in the book on which it's based, and while this is a series of short stories rather than a full novel, it felt - surprisingly, to me - like visiting old friends. A very satisfactory final book for 2019 (unless I hibernate for the next 38 hours and read something else by year's-end, which is entirely possible...)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    The back of my book states that Faber is a "master" of no less than two items - "his subject" AND "the short story form". Glowing praise but I was unsure that such a slim volume could stand up to it. However, I'd loved the first book so gave this a go. Quite a number of writers have seemed to want to delve further into fictional worlds and characters they have already created recently. For example, Susannah Clarke and "The Ladies of Grace Adieu" and this collection. This is basically a return to The back of my book states that Faber is a "master" of no less than two items - "his subject" AND "the short story form". Glowing praise but I was unsure that such a slim volume could stand up to it. However, I'd loved the first book so gave this a go. Quite a number of writers have seemed to want to delve further into fictional worlds and characters they have already created recently. For example, Susannah Clarke and "The Ladies of Grace Adieu" and this collection. This is basically a return to various characters first seen in "The Crimson Petal and the White". What is interesting about both these collections is that rather than neatening the edges they have rather sought to increase and further the ambiguity. This works particularly well in the case of Sugar as her character is already so difficult to pin down. In fact, this was one of the triumphs of the first book where Sugar was a rather chameleonic (is that a word?) character, adopting the attributes that best suited the situation rather than divulging anything of herself - a method of writing that particularly suited her line of work as a prostitute. I particularly loved the short story format. The form is so difficult to get right and this collection was deceptively simple. It was only when I glanced back over the story of "Clara and the Rat Man" that I realised how beautifully the timescale was handled as Clara flips from remembering the past to approaching the future. It was beautifully textured, layering memory with present experience and drove home very forcefully how talented a writer Faber is. It was like discovering a seam in a piece of clothing after hours of examination that was so exquisitely done that it was almost entirely hidden from view. Time, place and the voices of the individual characters are all elegantly done. For once I agree the back of the books blurb.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    After my discontent following the conclusion of The Crimson Petal and the White, this helped a bit...and it's a nice little collection of stories in Faber's distinctive style. If you haven't read the novel, be warned that this review contains spoilers of the novel, but not the short story collection. At least three of these stories take place after the conclusion of the novel and give varying degrees of closure to the characters' stories. William's fate is clear and well-deserved. Sophie's is gl After my discontent following the conclusion of The Crimson Petal and the White, this helped a bit...and it's a nice little collection of stories in Faber's distinctive style. If you haven't read the novel, be warned that this review contains spoilers of the novel, but not the short story collection. At least three of these stories take place after the conclusion of the novel and give varying degrees of closure to the characters' stories. William's fate is clear and well-deserved. Sophie's is glimpsed through the memories of her now elderly son, with mere shadows of Sugar filtering through him. Clara is the other character that we catch up with, shortly after the events of the novel, and her fate is a little surprising. Of Agnes, we know nothing at all. (That's okay, though, because I know she spent the rest of her short life in a nunnery, finally at peace by the time her brain tumor killed her.) A fourth story, which takes place somewhere in the same time frame, but could be before, during, or after the events of the novel, concerns Bodley and his sleep-deprivation induced existential crisis, and is by far the most amusing of the collection. Two other touching stories feature a younger Sugar, and an amusing one gives us a glimpse of teenage Emmeline. In the forward, Faber says that he tried to write another story about Henry, but Henry refused to cooperate. (If I'd been as royally screwed by Faber, I would, too.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eloise

    I devoured this after finishing The Crimson Petal and the White as I was desperate to find out what became of the characters after that open ending. This little volume of short stories provided some answers and was essentially the literary equivalent of scratching an itch. It was enjoyable enough, though frustrating in equal measure. It kept following characters I didn't want to know about (Clara, Bodley) and not those I was most desperate to get closure for (Agnes, future Sugar). It was also no I devoured this after finishing The Crimson Petal and the White as I was desperate to find out what became of the characters after that open ending. This little volume of short stories provided some answers and was essentially the literary equivalent of scratching an itch. It was enjoyable enough, though frustrating in equal measure. It kept following characters I didn't want to know about (Clara, Bodley) and not those I was most desperate to get closure for (Agnes, future Sugar). It was also not as intricate and profound as the novel, but then again, how could it be... I'm glad I was able to read it soon after The Crimson Petal, and in a way I liked that it left The Crimson Petal intact and didn't tie up all its loose ends, as that would take away from the intention behind the ending that Faber originally crafted.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I was desperate to read this, to find out more. I still feel like I don't know everything I need to know about these wonderful characters. I enjoyed the format of the book, the short stories of each person. I did raise my eyebrow a couple if Times whilst reading this but in a good way. I need more. I doubt we'll ever get more but I will live in hope. In the meantime, I will grieve. On a side note, I spent my Sunday watching the TV series, which I can, hand on heart say, was pretty spectacular. U I was desperate to read this, to find out more. I still feel like I don't know everything I need to know about these wonderful characters. I enjoyed the format of the book, the short stories of each person. I did raise my eyebrow a couple if Times whilst reading this but in a good way. I need more. I doubt we'll ever get more but I will live in hope. In the meantime, I will grieve. On a side note, I spent my Sunday watching the TV series, which I can, hand on heart say, was pretty spectacular. Usually, a film/television production would never do a book justice. I believe that the series on BBC did the best job it possibly could. I loved it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Pointless extension of The Crimson Petal and the White, picking up major and minor characters after or before events from the original book. Well written, but the more rigid chapters lack the fluidity of the main book and I didn't feel like these were stories that were desperate to be told. Like watching a great 3 hour film then having 30 minutes of deleted scenes/alternate endings - its nice to still be in that world but they don't really add anything to the characters or original story. Definit Pointless extension of The Crimson Petal and the White, picking up major and minor characters after or before events from the original book. Well written, but the more rigid chapters lack the fluidity of the main book and I didn't feel like these were stories that were desperate to be told. Like watching a great 3 hour film then having 30 minutes of deleted scenes/alternate endings - its nice to still be in that world but they don't really add anything to the characters or original story. Definitely don't read if you haven't read Crimson Petal..., hard to recommend if you have.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie Lubkowski

    The Apple stories were all very engaging, and very well written, just like the novel. Some light is shed on what happened to Sugar and Sophie, but not so much that as to dispel the mystery of the the original novel. If anything, these stories make me want to read The Crimson Petal all over again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hana

    Once more, absolutely gorgeous read. Wonderful to spend more time transported back to Victorian London with some of the most well crafted characters in fiction.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    I do t feel that this enlightened on the ending of the crimson petal novel. The short stories were okay , but didn’t really grab my attention to be honest.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian Bess

    More petals, crimson and white I’m one reader that found Michel Faber’s ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ to be a stupendous achievement. It is a novel that Charles Dickens would never dare to write even if the moral standards of his time had been looser although he would have brushed against much of the subject matter. It contains a Dickensian breadth of humanity from several walks of Victorian life including several quite memorable characters. Many people have criticized the open-endedness of i More petals, crimson and white I’m one reader that found Michel Faber’s ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ to be a stupendous achievement. It is a novel that Charles Dickens would never dare to write even if the moral standards of his time had been looser although he would have brushed against much of the subject matter. It contains a Dickensian breadth of humanity from several walks of Victorian life including several quite memorable characters. Many people have criticized the open-endedness of its conclusion. I was perfectly fine with the ending, which I felt did impose an obvious break in the story. When a couple of characters get on a boat to travel to another continent, that is an enforced ending, concluding the business they had with other characters through geographical separation. However, other readers wanted more closure. Faber has given his readers not more closure but more strands of narrative from some of the ‘Crimson Petal’ characters. What we have are mostly very brief stories that have the sense of ending before they’ve barely gotten started. The narratives feel uniformly insubstantial to me, although they do reintroduce me to some of the familiar characters. The most interesting character from ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ was Sugar, the literate, and literary, prostitute, an intelligent, independent woman who has come to terms with the reality of her circumstances and has the wits and the emotional maturity to deal with what’s in front of her until something better comes along, which she fully intends to manifest. The first story in the collection, “Christmas in Silver Street”, begins with the same tour guide narrator that led our way through ‘Crimson Petal’, zooming into December of 1872. We are with Sugar in her domain on Silver Street and the streets look like a Dickensian Christmas: “Snow makes everyone and everything look equal, as if God has lovingly applied a thin layer of white icing to rooftops, street-stalls, carriages, and the heads of beggars. Suffering and decrepitude are scarcely recognisable under such a pretty disguise.” Even the sentiment sounds like something Dickens would have written. Sugar is inspecting her tongue in her bedroom in Mrs. Castaway’s brothel and there’s no sign of any festive decoration anywhere in the house. The wash-boy Christopher comes for Sugar’s sheets and, when Sugar reminds him that it’s Christmas, says he doesn’t know what it is. The sound of carolers can be heard down the street. Much like the boy sent by Scrooge to get a roasting hen, Sugar goes in search of hot food. She brings back a cooked chicken to share with Christopher. She also bought some chocolate but ate it all on the way home. Sugar provides some festivity for the boy like he’s never had, then gets ready for the busy night ahead. “Clara and the Rat Man” is a strange little story of Clara, one of Sugar’s co-workers, and a repulsive client with a perverse request of her at a dog and rat pit. By the story’s end, Clara feels more pity than revulsion for the man. In “Chocolate Hearts from the New World” Emmeline Fox, the pious missionary from ‘Crimson Petal’, sends letters to slave-holders in the American South beseeching them to follow their Christian consciences and set free their slaves. Most of the replies she receives are hostile, telling her to mind her own business in so many words but in one she receives a box of chocolates from a man who admires her “most elegant handwriting”. In “The Apple”, Sugar’s reading of Anthony Trollope is interrupted by the exhortations of do-gooders outside her window and then sees one of them slap her daughter for dropping an apple to the ground. Forgetful of everything else, Sugar springs to action and runs out to the street barefoot to jump to the defense of the mistreated child but loses sight of them. Sugar’s selfish perfume manufacturer, William Rackham, in “Medicine”, still broods bitterly over what he feels Sugar did to him. He’s running a fever so the tenor of his thoughts is influenced by his physical state. Fifteen years later he is remarried but still laments over the death of his sickly wife and the loss of his daughter Sophie. He is just as clueless and oblivious as he was when he knew Sugar. The final story, “A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing”, is the longest story with the longest title. It is told by the young son of Sophie, now a suffragette returned from Australia to parade the streets of London, living a bohemian life with her artist husband and her female companion/fellow radical. We hear bits and pieces of Sophie’s life being raised by the shadowy figure Sugar, absorbed in distorted fragments by a seven-year-old boy. This has the least connection to ‘Crimson Petal’ of any of these stories. Sophie was a young child in that novel and had not evolved into a willful agent capable of affecting her life and so the Sophie of this story resembles that character in name only. This is the least successful of any of these stories partly because it occupies a different world in a later era and the characters are not particularly interesting. All of these stories, even the last, have the same flowing, effortless style that propelled the pace of their parent novel. That novel provides this volume with a reason to exist. Taken on its own merits I would not be substantially interested or affected. I hesitate to give a three-star rating to a collection of stories that are so well-written—it more properly deserves three and a half stars. However, they don’t carry substantial literary weight to be considered more highly, based on their own merits. I would direct anyone considering reading this collection to seek out instead, if they haven’t already, ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’.

  20. 4 out of 5

    KtotheC

    A little bit patchy. I liked the Sugar ones the best which isn't surprising. A little bit patchy. I liked the Sugar ones the best which isn't surprising.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    I enjoyed the Crimson Petal and the White, and was keen to rejoin characters from that world. This collection are nice scenes from different characters tales, some better than others.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Having not read "The Crimson Petal and White" I'm not coming to this familiar with the characters. That said, this is my fourth Michel Faber novel so I know he can write and this book is no exception. "Christmas in Silver Street" is about a prostitute called Apple who decides to give the son of one of the other prostitutes a decent Christmas dinner. "Clara and the Rat Man" is about another prostitute called Clara, turned to streetwalking after being dismissed as a housemaid who encounters a stra Having not read "The Crimson Petal and White" I'm not coming to this familiar with the characters. That said, this is my fourth Michel Faber novel so I know he can write and this book is no exception. "Christmas in Silver Street" is about a prostitute called Apple who decides to give the son of one of the other prostitutes a decent Christmas dinner. "Clara and the Rat Man" is about another prostitute called Clara, turned to streetwalking after being dismissed as a housemaid who encounters a strange chap who asks her to grow her one of her fingernails really long. The two attend a rat and dog fight in an underground pub where she is asked to do something to him with the fingernail. The next one is about a libertine who has a spell of existentialism. Another is about a letter from an American gentlemen to an English missionary woman living with her dad. "Medicine" is about an elderly perfumier who dreams of the time he spent with the prostitute from the first story, Sugar. The final one is about a suffragette movement march in Bloomsbury in 1908. They're all interesting stories with believable characters and settings and overall the book is amusing if brief. It's not Faber's best but highlights once again his skill with the short story medium. Not one that's going to influence anyone or change your life but an interesting diversion and a quick read. One day I'll get around to reading his gigantic novel that preceded this collection.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helen Maltby

    "I do understand how maddening it is to only get so far, and not know what happened next. I wouldn't do that to you!" So writes a character in one of the short stories that add to the reader's understanding of Michel Faber's earlier book, "The Crimson Petal and the White". Well, yes, Mr Faber. It IS maddening. I don't know a single person who felt satisfied when they reached the end of "Crimson Petal". We all want to know what happened next. What REALLY happened to Agnes? Where did Sugar and Sophi "I do understand how maddening it is to only get so far, and not know what happened next. I wouldn't do that to you!" So writes a character in one of the short stories that add to the reader's understanding of Michel Faber's earlier book, "The Crimson Petal and the White". Well, yes, Mr Faber. It IS maddening. I don't know a single person who felt satisfied when they reached the end of "Crimson Petal". We all want to know what happened next. What REALLY happened to Agnes? Where did Sugar and Sophie go? So, does this book give you the answers? Not really. You certainly get a further glimpse into Faber's Victorian world. Two stories take place before "The Crimson Petal" and four take place afterwards. It is the final one, "A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing" that held the most interest for me as it did give you some idea of the fate of our heroine and her little charge (well, stolen charge!). I would love to see this turned into a full length novel. Did I get all of the answers I wanted? No. I was warned by friends that I wouldn't. But it helped. I also enjoyed the Forward in this edition which contained snippets of letters written by fans expressing their desire to know more. Helped to let me know I wasn't alone!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This is a very good, but very brief, prequel/sequel to Faber's masterpiece The Crimson Petal and the White. That novel is better than anything Dickens ever wrote and almost as good as Middlemarch. Sugar and the Rackhams are some of the most well-developed fully fleshed characters in modern literature and the chance to see what came after the close of the novel, at least glimpses of that life for a few of the characters, is what drew me to this story collection. If you haven't read The Crimson Pet This is a very good, but very brief, prequel/sequel to Faber's masterpiece The Crimson Petal and the White. That novel is better than anything Dickens ever wrote and almost as good as Middlemarch. Sugar and the Rackhams are some of the most well-developed fully fleshed characters in modern literature and the chance to see what came after the close of the novel, at least glimpses of that life for a few of the characters, is what drew me to this story collection. If you haven't read The Crimson Petal and the White, you should. It's one of the only modern novels I've given five stars. However, without that book under your belt the impact of this slim story collection would be reduced. I'll never forget the mornings and evenings I spent over the course of a week and a half in 2005, at the start of my second year in Korea, reading this Victorian-era doorstop that made 1870s London a living, breathing entity, while thoroughly convincing me that the Rackhams' perfume concern and the highly intelligent 19-year old Sugar were real people. These are some of the only characters from books written this century whom I feel I know. This story collection let me in on their secrets just a bit more, and for that I am thankful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christy B

    A delightful collection of seven short stories from the world of The Crimson Petal and the White. I had loved that novel so, that when I found out there were more glimpses into the Crimson Petal world, I just had to get it. The stories here are nothing spectacular and they don't reveal anything major about the characters. With the way the original novel ended, I'm sure people thought these stories would be a nice little wrap-up, as it were. They are not. They are, however, a sort of revisit of ol A delightful collection of seven short stories from the world of The Crimson Petal and the White. I had loved that novel so, that when I found out there were more glimpses into the Crimson Petal world, I just had to get it. The stories here are nothing spectacular and they don't reveal anything major about the characters. With the way the original novel ended, I'm sure people thought these stories would be a nice little wrap-up, as it were. They are not. They are, however, a sort of revisit of old friends and being introduced to a few new ones. Some of the stories take place before The Crimson Petal and the White and some take place after. Some a short time before, some a long time before; some a short time after, some a long time after. You get to drop in on the main characters of Sugar and William Rackman and others such as Clara, Mr. Bodley and Emmeline Fox. Overall, a satisfying collection of stories that would be entertaining to anyone who loved the original novel and know that they're not going to find anything too revealing here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth K.

    Short stories about the characters from The Crimson Petal and the White, some which take place prior to the events of that book, and some after. We shall take the high quality of Faber's writing as a given, and beyond that, I had a mixed reaction. I was a little more intrigued with the stories of things that happened before, for the most part. Finding out, even remotely, what happened after made things feel too pat. And a lot of the happenings are things you might have guessed anyway, so it wasn Short stories about the characters from The Crimson Petal and the White, some which take place prior to the events of that book, and some after. We shall take the high quality of Faber's writing as a given, and beyond that, I had a mixed reaction. I was a little more intrigued with the stories of things that happened before, for the most part. Finding out, even remotely, what happened after made things feel too pat. And a lot of the happenings are things you might have guessed anyway, so it wasn't even as if there were any huge surprises. And the very first story in the collection reads like A Very Special Crimson Petal, which struck me as an odd choice. That's probably an unfair criticism, poor Michel Faber likely doesn't know what "A Very Special ..." is in the first place. Grade: B+ Recommended: I think people who enjoyed The Crimson Petal and the White should consider this very carefully before reading: it is good, but it caps the story. (2009/35)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Seddon

    If you have read the Crismon Petal and the White, I highy reccomend this book. It is a collection of short stories about a few of the characters from Crimson Petal, some act as a prequel, some a sequel. The foreword by Michael faber is interesting, so don't skip it, he includes a few letters from readers about their approval/disapproval of the ending and begging for another installment. In it he mentions that he wrote the book so that it could be enjoyed seperately from The Crimson Petal, that y If you have read the Crismon Petal and the White, I highy reccomend this book. It is a collection of short stories about a few of the characters from Crimson Petal, some act as a prequel, some a sequel. The foreword by Michael faber is interesting, so don't skip it, he includes a few letters from readers about their approval/disapproval of the ending and begging for another installment. In it he mentions that he wrote the book so that it could be enjoyed seperately from The Crimson Petal, that you do not have to read Crimson petal to appreciate it, and that it gives away nothing from the first book, but I don't agree. (view spoiler)[For example, the story about Sophie in the suffragette marches, would ruin the end of the Crimson Petal as you would know that she was raised by Sugar well, safely, and does not end up following up Sugar's proffession. (hide spoiler)] Two words to sum up this book, for anyone who has read Crimson Petal, would be very satisfying.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chrystyna

    Having recently finished reading Crimson Petal, I couldn't wait to read the follow up short stories in The Apple and I wasn't disappointed! Just a handful of stories sees us re-visiting Sugar in her life pre-Crimson, Clara, Mr Bodley, William and, indirectly, Sophie all post-Crimson. So good to see what had become of them and interesting to see if they matched my own hopes and perceptions (largely they did!). My only detraction from the book was that I wanted more. After the weighty tome that was Having recently finished reading Crimson Petal, I couldn't wait to read the follow up short stories in The Apple and I wasn't disappointed! Just a handful of stories sees us re-visiting Sugar in her life pre-Crimson, Clara, Mr Bodley, William and, indirectly, Sophie all post-Crimson. So good to see what had become of them and interesting to see if they matched my own hopes and perceptions (largely they did!). My only detraction from the book was that I wanted more. After the weighty tome that was Crimson Petal, this was lightweight and I read it in less than a day (part during the evening, the rest on the train to work the next day). Hugely enjoyable, but left me wanting more. Will now have to dig out more of Michel Faber's writing to see whether his other work lives up to these two books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    3.5/5 After having read the excellent "The Crimson Petal and the White" last year, I am really glad that I finally got my hands on this small collection of short stories that take place before, during and after the end of the main story. And while I didn't learn anything new (with only small hints about what exactly happened after that ending in "A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing") and the stories could've gone into more depth, it was so wonderful to be reunited with some of the 3.5/5 After having read the excellent "The Crimson Petal and the White" last year, I am really glad that I finally got my hands on this small collection of short stories that take place before, during and after the end of the main story. And while I didn't learn anything new (with only small hints about what exactly happened after that ending in "A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing") and the stories could've gone into more depth, it was so wonderful to be reunited with some of these characters. It's sad that Michel Faber will never again whisk me away to his world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paz Alonso

    Obviously the stories here weren't as rich and developed as The Crimson Petal and I'm really surprised anyone would expect otherwise. They're supposed to be vignettes, not a novel and definitely not a sequel, neither in length nor content. I loved reading about some of the characters again in this almost fanfictionesque format. Obviously the stories here weren't as rich and developed as The Crimson Petal and I'm really surprised anyone would expect otherwise. They're supposed to be vignettes, not a novel and definitely not a sequel, neither in length nor content. I loved reading about some of the characters again in this almost fanfictionesque format.

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