Michel Faber is a stunning writer and his 2002 novel, The Crimson Petal and The White, of which I have a first edition, is to be revealed to a much wider audience than the book ever reached when it is serialised in the Autumn on BBC2.
It is astoundingly brilliant as a book and will make a perfect BBC drama.
Here is what the BBC website has to say about it.
The Crimson Petal & The White is a four-part adaptation of Michel Faber’s international best-selling novel on BBC Two.
Adapted by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon and directed by Marc Munden, this intimate psychological thriller lifts the lid on the darker side of Victorian London revealing a world seething with vitality, sexuality, ambition and emotion.
This provocative and riveting tale tells the story of Sugar (Romola Garai), an alluring, intelligent young prostitute who yearns for a better life away from the brothel she is attached to – run by the contemptible Mrs Castaway (Gillian Anderson).
Highly sought after and sexually adept, Sugar finds her only comfort in the secret novel she is writing in which a murderous prostitute takes revenge on her clients. However, things change for her when she meets wealthy businessman William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd).
Sugar is a thrilling antidote to William’s life, saddled with a pious brother, Henry Rackham (Mark Gatiss), and fragile wife, Agnes Rackham (Amanda Hale). Agnes regularly endures visits from the invasive physician Doctor Curlew (Richard E Grant), leaving her unable to perform her wifely duties.
William ensconces Sugar as his mistress and she soon grows accustomed to her new life. Yet, unbeknownst to William, Sugar begins to hatch a plan which sets a series of events in motion that will change their lives for ever.
The supporting cast also includes Shirley Henderson, Tom Georgeson, Liz White, Blake Ritson and Bertie Carvel.
This riveting account of life in the world of Victorian prostitution is packed with detail and texture. An intelligent tale of love, lust, desire and revenge, it reveals the true sexual politics of Victorian life – in a way never seen before on screen. In the words of the heroine Sugar: “If you dare enter this world, you had better tread carefully.”