The Crimson Petal and the White
|The Crimson Petal and the White|
|This section requires expansion. (April 2011)|
The novel was published (by Canongate) in hardback in the UK in 2002, 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 2006.
The main characters include William Rackham, the unwilling heir to a perfume business; Agnes, William's brittle, long-suffering "mad wife in the attic"; and Sugar, a decidedly unconventional and strong-willed young prostitute whose intense affair with William gives her the opportunity to climb to a higher perch in the rigidly stratified class system of the time. Other characters include Henry Rackham, William's pious brother who wants to be a clergyman, and his friend Emmeline Fox, a widow who works in the Rescue Society that tries to reform prostitutes.
The novel is told from the perspective of all of the main characters, and the omniscient narrator occasionally addresses the reader directly. There is also a meta-literary aspect, as Sugar is working on her own novel, Henry writes sermons, and Agnes keeps a diary.
The novel was generally well received by critics, with one review calling it 'supremely literary' and describing the quality of the writing as 'dizzyingly accomplished'.
In other media
In 2010, the BBC announced the production of a four-part miniseries based on the novel; viewing started in April 2011. The adaptation's cast includes Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Gillian Anderson, Richard E. Grant, Shirley Henderson, Amanda Hale, Mark Gatiss, Tom Georgeson and Liz White; it was adapted by Lucinda Coxon and directed by Marc Munden. The director of photography was Lol Crawley.
- Sawers, Claire (March 24, 2011). "Michel Faber interview - The Crimson Petal and the White". The List.
- Faber, Michel (April 6, 2011). "The Crimson Petal and the White: Watching my novel reborn on TV". The Guardian.