Saturday, September 09, 2006

Curse You, Michel Faber

From Amazon UK's description of The Apple:
Enjoy more sugar...Take a saunter down Silver Street once more for an early Christmas encounter with the determined heroine of "The Crimson Petal and the White", and find out more of what became of her. In this collection, Michel Faber revisits the world of his bestselling novel, briefly opening doors onto the lives of its characters to give us tantalising glimpses of where they sprang from and what happened to them.
I don't even know why I'm so excited. I happen to be one of only eight people on the planet who didn't find the ending of The Crimson Petal and the White rushed and unsatisfactory (I guess once you've got a couple of Neal Stephensons under your belt, Faber's hurriedness doesn't even register). Not to mention that the entire concept puts my back up--going back to the universe of a mega-bestseller to tie up loose ends and tell additional stories? It was a bad idea when Neil Gaiman did it in Sandman: Endless Nights, and probably there are half a dozen other examples I can't think of right now.

But I still want it.

7 comments:

Ilana Teitelbaum said...

My problem with "Crimson Petal" wasn't the ending...it was the characters and his psychologically limited portrayal of the period. Ten years of research, and the best he could come up with were stereotypical characters that anyone who knows anything about the Victorian period could have thought of. Sugar is, I think, the only exception.

I don't regret reading it because the thoroughness of his historical detail was admirable and I'm sure I learned something...but more of the same? Nooooo thanks. I see this sequel as, "I researched this damn period for ten years, it's good for ten more books!"

Alison said...

Spoilers


I didn't find the ending rushed because by that time I was in agony that it might all go wrong. I just wanted to know they were OK. That's the trouble with Faber: it all goes wrong so very often that you feel gratitude when it isn't death and misery all round.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

Ilana:

Interesting observation about the complexity of the characters. It's true that most of the characters are stock types, but I think Faber handles them well - however unoriginal they may be, they're still recognizably people.

At least as far as I was concerned, Crimson Petal's rolicking plot made up for the predictability of the characters. That's probably where the vaunted ten years of research went into as well (or maybe Faber is just a slow writer).

Alison:

I hadn't read any Faber before Crimson Petal. After finishing it I picked up Under the Skin, which was a nasty (although not entirely unpleasant) surprise. But I certainly felt anxious towards the end of the novel, and relieved that the characters I cared about got away with something like a reprieve.

Niall said...

Have you read Some Rain Must Fall and/or The Fahrenheit Twins?

Abigail Nussbaum said...

No, Niall - just Crimson Petal and Under the Skin. I've been thinking that I ought to give Faber a more serious look - would you recommend either one?

Alison said...

'some rain must fall' is better than 'farenheit twins' IMHO

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when The Apple will be published in North America? Amazon.com doesn't list it and I'm dying to read it.

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