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on 13 June 2014
Written, I believe, in response to his fans' demands for more of "The Crimson Petal...", this collection of stories set around the locale, era and characters of Silver Street is a workmanlike potboiler, the stories ranging from engaging and charming to quite pointless and lightweight. Sugar's fans will enjoy them, but Faber's fans will know he can do so much better.
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on 11 August 2017
So happy to have read this! If anyone enjoyed The Chrimson Petal and the White then they should definitely check this out! There are extra stories about the characters and even a bit more about what happened with Sugar and Sophie after the novel! Definitely will satisfy those fans who doesn't like ambiguous endings (although I've never minded that myself!)
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on 19 March 2017
I like Michael Faber's style but would have peterred a good long novel rather than short bites
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on 17 May 2011
Slight disappointment as not a true continuation, so we never get to hear what happened to the main characters. Perhaps we should just leave this to our imagination and not try to get them to contine in their own stories.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 April 2011
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 April 2007
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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on 31 July 2006
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 October 2006
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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on 6 April 2011
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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on 9 August 2009
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.
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