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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a follow-up but worth reading
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...
Published on 16 April 2007 by A Common Reader

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read but not all questions answered
If you haven't read `The Crimson Petal and the White', don't read any further because there will be spoilers for that particular book.
This book is essentially a companion for `The Crimson Petal and the White.' I found it easy to read although it is my view very few of the stories had much substance, and relied on the reader having knowledge of the characters from...
Published on 11 May 2012 by Robin Webster


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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a follow-up but worth reading, 16 April 2007
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising and revealing, 31 July 2006
By 
Ben Ripley (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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The Crimson Petal and the White has to be one of my favourite books of all time. I was intrigued from the moment I heard about it at one of our conferences and as soon as I had the opportunity to grab one of the largest proofs ever, I had the mighty tome open and plunged right in. Over the following days, I was fully immersed, only to be drawn painfully away by inconveniences such as work and sleep.

When the book was over, I felt bereft. Not due to the admittedly astonishing open-end to the story, which I loved, but the world in which I had inhabited for those days had been riven away from me and I was reluctantly falling back into reality.

The Crimson Petal and the White is one of those books where the detail of the locations and the people are so precise they leave an indelible stain upon your imagination and they never leave you.

When I was handed The Apple, the world of late nineteenth century London was engulfing me once more. Within the pages lie seven pure gems of storytelling from a true master of the art. Whether you are learning about the mental decline of William Rackham in his later years or of Sugar's history prior to the events of the first book, you are entranced by the depth of character and the realism of their lives.

There are other characters that we learn more about who may have been a minor player in the original story, but here they are fleshed out even further.

I am sure that the questions on many people's lips will be about the aftermath of the original novel. Michel Faber does state categorically in his foreword that there will be no sequel to purely sate the appetites of the curious, but in the final story of this collection, we do have a joyous insight into one particular character's future to allay any fears we, as a reader, may have had for someone we began to care about as dearly as we would a real friend or family member. I shall leave it as a surprise for when you read it yourself.

As far as I am concerned, I would like Michel Faber to continue to write stories from the world of Crimson Petal, for I would be entirely content to return there time and time again.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another glimpse of Faber's Victorian world, 11 Oct 2006
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Although a great doorstep of a book (in the best sense of the term), Michael Faber's "The Crimson Petal and the White" leaves you wanting more. "The Apple" supplies a little more. It contains a fascinating sequence of unconnected stories featuring characters from Crimson Petal (or with Petal connections). Some of them, it is clear, got what (we might think) they deserved after Petal closed - others get a backstory that casts light on their actions in the main volume. Most of the mystery is, though, preserved together with the scope for each reader to imagine their own continuation of the main book. (My guess, by the way, was that Sugar used the money William had given her, and her knowledge of his business, to set up her own concern - probably some distance away, in York, perhaps - which grew over time to rival and eventually supplant his. From what I read in The Apple I don't now think this is very likely, though it remains possible).

In summary, anyone who enjoyed Petal will love this - if you didn't read that book, shame on you: but you can redeem yourself now by starting with this, and then getting to know the characters better through Petal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Crimson Petal, Thank Goodness, 21 Sep 2008
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For those annoyed by the abrupt ending of Michel Faber's Crimson Petal and the White, this will hopefully be somewhat soothing. While not a linear sequel, there are glimpses of the later lives of Agnes, William, Sugar and Sophie. Several short stories illuminate episodes from their lives, written in Faber's continuously brilliant style.

The highlight is the final story in the collection, "A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Approaching." It is the story of a small boy caught up in the 1908 march of the suffragettes, and it is page-turning stuff. All the stories are interesting, but this was my favorite.

Those looking for a true "sequel" to the superb Crimson Petal and the White might be a bit disappointed, I don't know. Personally, I was thrilled to spend time, however brief, with the characters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, satisfying vignettes, 26 April 2011
By 
Joanne Sheppard "Being Obscure Clearly" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories (Paperback)
This is a beautiful little collection of stories about the characters from Faber's ramblingly brilliant piece of Victoriana, The Crimson Petal & The White. Want to know what happens to William Rackham and his perfume empire? Curious to know how Sugar spent her days in Silver Street and about her relationship with Christopher, the brothel's child skivvy? Ever wondered how Sophie Rackham turned out, or what was the fate of the loyal Clara after she was cruelly dismissed from her thankless task as Agnes' maid? Then this book is for you. Every tale is crafted to perfection, with never a word wasted and never a word missing. The stories are oddly satisfying, too; they confirmed things that I'd secretly hoped and gave me a little extra insight into the characters and their world. Lovely - a must for anyone who loved the original novel and wants to know a little more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read but not all questions answered, 11 May 2012
By 
Robin Webster "Robin" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories (Paperback)
If you haven't read `The Crimson Petal and the White', don't read any further because there will be spoilers for that particular book.
This book is essentially a companion for `The Crimson Petal and the White.' I found it easy to read although it is my view very few of the stories had much substance, and relied on the reader having knowledge of the characters from reading `The Crimson Petal and the White'. The exception to this is `Clara and the Rat Man' which I consider to be a really good short story in its own right. Many people who read `The Crimson Petal and the White' loved the book but were nevertheless frustrated by its ending and were left wondering what happened to Sugar, Sophie and Agnes. One of the good things about this book is that one of the stories does involve Sophie as an adult in 1908 so some of the reader's questions regarding the fate of the aforementioned women are answered but not all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Little Postscript, 26 Jun 2011
By 
Jimmy Stix (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories (Paperback)
This little (oh yes it's little all right!) collection of stories concerning certain characters from The Crimson Petal is a lovely way to say goodbye to them.
You will get some answers, you will have some more questions, but each one will tell you something new about these people, in a mix of tales, both before and after the events of that mighty tome.

You will just have to let your own imagination fill in the gaps which is exactly what Michael Faber intended I think.

I am sure I will go looking for Sugar and Co. again sometime, in the filthy, seedy, malodorous streets of Victorian London.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped reduce withdrawal symptoms, 6 April 2011
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Ms. Mary H. Smith (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Okay, it's not a sequel in the true sense of the word but for those of us who suffered years of withdrawal symptoms after the end of The Crimson Petal and the White, it was great to be able to re-enter the world we inhabited when we lived with Sugar for so many chapters. This is such a slim volume it is easy to devour in one sitting and I would have been happy to read more stories such as the ones contained here. Faber has a true gift for storytelling and is a genius at creating characters who are completely believable and real and his evocation of 19th century London makes us feel we are there, would recognise places we've read about. The Apple stories fill a gap and it was good to read more of Sugar's back story pre-Crimson Petal and the White - though I would love a proper sequel to fill in the details of her life. Reviewed by Mary Smith No More Mulberries
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing, 18 Jun 2012
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After the excellent The Crimson Petal and the White, I was looking forward to this. While the book was clever in its way - interweaving one-off stories around the original novel - I found it less than satisfying. The writing is just not as powerful as it was in Faber's original in that it lacked some of that delightful language he employed to evoke the Victorian age and the lives of the characters. And the characterisation develops little on the novel, restricted as it is to independent short stories, and for the same reason the plot lines do not progress very far.

The read was enjoyable enough and there was some pleasure in learning a little more about the key protagonists. I think I went in with too high expectations after having thoroughly enjoyed the novel and should have perhaps tempered my hopes given the short story format.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seriously disappointed, 22 July 2011
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Crimson Petal and the White, to the extent that I read all 800plus pages in record time, I felt a little let down at the end though. What happened to Sugar and Sophie when they left the Rackham household? It felt that the author had lost interest in Sugar in this volume - he'd already said plenty about her early days as a prostitute in The Crimson Petal so I didn't really see the point in taking us back sgain. No real clues in this flimsy volume. Too much emphasis on the suffragete movement - most of us know all about that already.
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The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories
The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories by Michel Faber (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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