17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Moving, richly satisfying!, 21 Sep 2006
I have read this book twice now, and on reading it the second time realized how much I appreciate good writing and story telling. Faber has created amusing, deep, complex and very human characters, all of whom crawl deep under your skin. He has an uncanny ability to portray the human psyche not only from a male but also from a female point of view, and that in 19th century London. As Kathryn Hughes from The Guardian states in her review:' The novel that Dickens might have written had he been allowed to speak freely...'. London becomes alive, whether it's high society or the slums, and you find yourself identifying with almost all the characters on some level, which for me indicates good writing. Some critics have stated that the characters have behaved as if out of control near the end and if left to their own devices might have acted differently...how insane to expect characters to behave as we would like them to. We ourselves hardly ever behave as we would like to all the time. Therefore I loved the novel even more, for it portrayed the soul, the ego and the super-ego in situations that most of us would not have been able to even contemplate let alone experience by acting in ways at times predictable yet at others totally independent of expectations or norms. On finishing this book one is truly bereft, but left with a sense of such profound possibility that it changes your outlook on life and humbles you in a not altogether unpleasant way.
I especially liked the attention to detail, the divine humour and the way he captured the period. The passages where Sugar stalks Agnes to the Royal Albert Hall and discovers not only a woman tormented by her private demons but also discovers music...REAL music, as Verdi comes to conduct his Requiem. The way the music stirs her made me love the Requiem all the more.
This book was a privilege to read. I cannot wait to read 'The Apple'.
Don't expect anything, but read it anyway...