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"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."--BOOK JACKET.
With his elegant prose and perceptive imagination, the bestselling author of The Crimson Petal and the White creates a unique, self-contained world, where the perennial human drama plays out in all its passion and ambiguity. In these acclaimed novellas, Michel Faber takes on the interior world of inventively crafted characters. "The Courage Consort" tells of an a capella vocal ensemble sequestered in a Belgian chateau to rehearse a monstrously complicated new piece. But competing artistic temperaments and sexual needs create as much discordance as the avant-garde music. In "The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps," a lonely woman joins an archaeological dig at Whitby Abbey and unearths a mystery involving a long-hidden murder. In "The Fahrenheit Twins," strange children, identical in all but gender and left alone at the icy zenith of the world by their anthropologist parents, create their own ritual civilization.
At the heart of this panoramic, multidimensional narrative is the compelling struggle of a young woman to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Faber leads us back to 1870s London, where Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for escape to a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society offers us intimacy with a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters. They begin with William Rackham, an egotistical perfume magnate whose ambition is fueled by his lust for Sugar, and whose patronage brings her into proximity to his extended family and milieu: his unhinged, childlike wife, Agnes, who manages to overcome her chronic hysteria to make her appearances during "the Season"; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, Sophie, left to the care of minions; his pious brother, Henry, foiled in his devotional calling by a persistently less-than-chaste love for the Widow Fox, whose efforts on behalf of The Rescue Society lead Henry into ever-more disturbing confrontations with flesh; all this overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all stripes and persuasions. Twenty years in its conception, research, and writing, The Crimson Petal and the White is teeming with life, rich in texture and incident, with characters breathtakingly real. In a class by itself, it's a big, juicy, must-read of a novel that will delight, enthrall, provoke, and entertain young and old, male and female.
Theo Griepenkerl is a modest academic with an Olympian ego. When he visits a looted museum in Iraq, looking for treasures he can ship back to Canada, he finds nine papyrus scrolls that have lain hidden for two thousand years. Once translated from Aramaic, these prove to be a fifth Gospel, written by an eye-witness of Jesus Christ's last days. But when Theo decides to share this sensational discovery with the world, he fails to imagine the impact the new Gospel will have on Christians, Arabs, homicidal maniacs and Amazon customers. Like Prometheus's gift of fire, it has incendiary consequences.The Fire Gospel is an enthralling novel about the power of words to resonate across centuries, and inspire and disrupt in equal measure. Wickedly provocative, hilarious and shocking by turns, it is a revelatory piece of storytelling.From the Hardcover edition.
Michel Faber's short stories are markedly diverse-the voice of each is so distinct that the book reads like an anthology of different writers. But Faber's radically inventive style fastens all fifteen stories into a compelling collection deserving of the high praise it garnered in the United Kingdom. One surreal story, "Fish," projects a futuristic world populated with fish swimming in the air. As sharks hover in abandoned corners and human zealots of the Church of the Armageddon loose their fanaticism on the innocent, it's a mother's full-time job to protect her young daughter. The title story, "Some Rain Must Fall," tells of a substitute schoolteacher called on in a crisis, and as she encourages her pupils to express their feelings, we learn the source of the class's trouble: a devastating act that resonates with contemporary America. As Garth Morris wrote in the Mail on Sunday (London), "these are well-crafted pieces of quiet forlorn intensity in a very real world."
Hailed as "original and unsettling, an Animal Farm for the new century" (The Wall Street Journal), this first novel lingers long after the last page has been turned.Described as a "fascinating psychological thriller" (The Baltimore Sun), this entrancing novel introduces Isserley, a female driver who picks up hitchhikers with big muscles. She, herself, is tiny-like a kid peering up over the steering wheel. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. At once humane and horrifying, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory-our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion. A grotesque and comical allegory, a surreal representation of contemporary society run amok, Under the Skin has been internationally received as the arrival of an exciting talent, rich and assured.
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