Back in 2003, Michel Faber published The Crimson Petal and The White - see pages and pages of rave reviews on amazon. I, along with countless other people hoped that eventually another volume of this fantastic saga would come along. Well, we kept on waiting, and now Michel Faber has provided us with a set of short stories, or maybe episodes would be a better word, about some of the characters in the earlier novel. Those who were thirsting for more will have to make do with this - it is a short book and I actually managed to read it in a day (OK, so I commute to work on the train). But it is definitely up to the same standard as the novel, and provides some revealing glimpses of what happened next (or even what happened before in one or two instances).
The main character Sugar appears, but in an episode before her starring role in the novel. Others who were "undone" are shown to have been truly undone, and never achieved a state of contentment or happiness. I won't describe the stories in any detail - they are short enough, but I think its fair to say, that this is worth reading if you loved the novel, but unfortunately have the effect of making the reader want a more substantial historical novel from Mr Faber. I regret I was not so impressed with his science fiction interlude Under The Skin (although it was good), and feel that Faber's main skill is depicting the life and manners of the Victoria era with all its heights and depths, its passion and its hypocrisy.