Yuqi's Reviews > The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories

The Apple by Michel Faber
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's review
Mar 17, 12

Read in March, 2012

I enjoyed reading some of the stories. It has been a few years since I read the Crimson Petal and the White, and it was fun to recognize names. I matched a few characters up to the wrong names and forgot some characters entirely, but none of that affected my understanding of the stories. Had it not been for one particular quote that I really, really liked, I could have gone without reading this collection. In my mind, I knew how Sugar would turn out. The ending of The Crimson Petal and the White didn't bother me as much as others, and I would have been happy to stick with my imagined futures for the characters.

Christmas in Silver Street: very sweet, an illustration of Sugar's maternal instincts, which also explain her affinity for Sophie

Clara and the Rat Man: I forgot who Clara was, but she's a whore now who completes a strange request for one of her customers. The motive behind the request is pretty twisted, if I've interpreted the ending correctly. (view spoiler)

Chocolate Hearts from the New World: cute, but not very interesting

The Fly, and Its Effect upon Mr Bodley: in which Mr Bodley has an existential crisis. The story tries too consciously to make me think about the pointlessness of repeated activities. I liked the phrasing of the last few lines though.

The Apple: my favorite of the collection. The plot is less memorable than the other stories, but made worth it by the following gems:

"Reading, by its very nature, is an admission of defeat, a ritual of self-humiliation: it shows that you believe other lives are more interesting than yours"

"In every story she reads, the women are limp and spineless and insufferably virtuous. They harbour no hatred, they think only of marriage, they don't exist below the neck, they eat but never shit. Where are the authentic, flesh-and-blood women in modern English fiction? There aren't any!"

Both passages capture exactly what I've felt while reading at sometime or another.

Medicine: poor William, is all I can say. Happiness evades William quite excessively here. I'd rather keep my own idea of how his life turned out.

A Mighty Horde of Women in Very Big Hats, Advancing: well, you find out what happens to Sophie, whose outcome as a headstrong woman didn't surprise me. Neither the prose nor story captured me, though I appreciated Faber's commentary on what was considered unnatural for women at the time.

I appreciated these lines in particular:

"playful phantoms, ducking behind one another, running round and round our cab"

"what happens to music once it's gone inside your ears"
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