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The Apple

Crimson Petal Stories
The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories. Canongate UK, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Sept. 2011. c.200p. ISBN 9780857860859. pap. $14.95. F
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Welcome back Sugar, the wily prostitute who turned her fortunes on their ear in The Crimson Petal and the White, and her colorful band of street urchins, miscreants, and ladies of the night from Faber's Victorian England. Responding to readers who begged him to resolve the uncertainties left at the end of that novel, Faber revives many of his principals and bit players while still leaving Sugar and her ward, Sophie, some mystery. These sparkling gems include "Clara and the Rat Man," in which a wary prostitute reluctantly agrees to perform an unsavory act while attending a match at a rat pit, and "A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing," told from the perspective of a 92-year-old (Sophie's son) reminiscing over his unconventional youth, accompanying his parents on a historic march for woman's suffrage.
VERDICT Like Sugar at 17, unable to resist the chocolates she intended to give away as a Christmas present, readers may find it equally hard to resist devouring this slim but tasty confection in one sitting. Highly recommended for admirers of Crimson Petal and for those who like their bonbons spicy.

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