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The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories

If you liked Crimson Petal, especially if you just read it, get this immediately. It is more of the same. And we get to glimpse William, Sophie and Sugar getting what they deserve I think.

It doesn't resolve Agnes' fate and I still think that might be for the best. Now I'm left hoping that Mr.

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Faber writes even more! Now I feel left up in the air by the end of Apple.

Maybe there will be a page sequel, but I would have enjoyed reading more about spoiler alert!!! Apple only somewhat answers the questions left at the end of The Crimson Petal and the White. We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience.

Review: The Apple by Michel Faber | Books | The Guardian

Make sure to accept our cookies in order to get the best experience out of this website. If you would like to read more about this check out the Privacy Policy page. Important Message. Apple, the: new crimson petal stories by Michel Faber. The novel was published by Canongate in hardback in the UK in , with a paperback edition following the next year. Canongate also published The Apple , a selection of short stories based on characters from The Crimson Petal and the White , in The novel details lives of two very opposite Victorian women, Agnes and Sugar, and the linchpin on whom they revolve: William Rackham.

William, the unwilling and somewhat bumbling heir to a perfume business, is a businessman of moderate success and little self-awareness. He married the exquisitely doll-like Agnes, who embodies the Victorian "female ideal" of naive femininity, for her beauty though he barely knew her.

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Kept completely in the dark on sexual matters, Agnes' diaries express utter confusion over events like menstruation she believes a demon returns periodically to "bleed" her , pregnancy , sex , or childbirth: she does not even acknowledge her young daughter, Sophie. Sophie, who takes after her father, is very carefully kept far from her mother's sight by the household staff, who otherwise disregard Agnes' desires and ignore her. Outside of the house, few know of Agnes' madness though knowledge of it spreads during the length of the story , who presents herself as an inveterate hostess and socialite to the world during each season.

William soon becomes obsessed with a worldly young prostitute named Sugar, an unconventionally intelligent and strong-willed young woman who uses the affair with William to climb to a higher perch in the rigidly stratified class system of the time. William purchases Sugar from her madame Sugar's own mother and sets her up in a luxurious flat of her own, where he regularly visits her on his terms.

Sugar has been a prostitute since the age of 13 and views sex as a living, not a pleasure, with no physical act too taboo. She is resentful of her reliance on William's and men in general's favour and indulges her fantasies about harming her and her fellow prostitute's clients in an explicitly gruesome novel of revenge erotica she pens in her spare time as she works to maintain William's continued interest using both her body and her mind. As William's fortunes climb from Sugar's excellent business acumen, Agnes becomes increasingly eccentric.

The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories

William eventually decides to move Sugar into his household, hidden as a member of his staff. The vignette starts as buttonholing revelation "at this point in Queen Victoria's reign the ratio of prostitutes to the overall population is " , but then slides into Noeltide sentiment. The Victorian demons that Faber once summoned with such relish are sometimes treated with a kind of facetiousness. In one story a brothel-visiting gentleman, filled with horror at life's transience by the sight of a fly on a whore's buttock, has to be calmed into child-like sleep by a weary madam.

Elsewhere, brevity is limitation. In "Clara and the Ratman" a young servant who has turned to prostitution is engaged by a peculiarly ugly man to service him in a peculiar way. The tale appears to be about her disgust at "those swinish, repulsive creatures, the men who used whores". At the story's end, however, there is a sudden opening to sympathy with her mutilated client, for both Clara and the reader, as we find out about his history.

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It is an opening that must be stopped short. In a foreword the author explains the hold that the densely researched world of The Crimson Petal and the White continued to have on him.


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Rather less disarmingly, he provides extracts from readers who wrote to him to regret its ending. Private appreciation "Thank you for your gift", "I could easily have read another pages" becomes, on the printed page, the novelist's self-flattery. Yet the sense of these fans that the book was good for being long is not wrong.