Wise Children: A Novel

Wise Children: A Novel

by Angela Carter

Paperback(First Edition)

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In their heyday on the vaudeville stages of the early twentieth century, Dora Chance and her twin sister, Nora—unacknowledged daughters of Sir Melchior Hazard, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day—were known as the Lucky Chances, with private lives as colorful and erratic as their careers. But now, at age 75, Dora is typing up their life story, and it is a tale indeed that Angela Carter tells. A writer known for the richness of her imagination and wit as well as her feminist insights into matters large and small, she created in Wise Children an effervescent family saga that manages to celebrate the lore and magic of show business while also exploring the connections between parent and child, the transitory and the immortal, authenticity and falsehood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374530945
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 12/10/2007
Series: FSG Classics
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 288,301
Product dimensions: 5.67(w) x 8.31(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Angela Carter (1940-1992) was the author of many novels (including Nights at the Circus)¸ collections of short stories, plays, and books for children.

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Wise Children 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Wubsy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for AS Level English Lit and hated almost all of it. I couldn't get on with the style of writing and I felt at times it was being too obviously outrageous or weird without really saying anything important. However it did have some funny moments and the characters were nicely formed.
limoncello on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Angela Carter is one of my favourite authors. I love her fantasies, the twists and turns in her stories and her wonderful sense of humour. I love her use of metaphor and the universality of her themes. So of course I loved this book.
thelotustree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book for lovers of Shakespeare who enjoy seeing the bard being taken on a roller coaster romp that rewrites expectations!The book plays on the common "green space" trope used by Shakespeare (we start in the normal world, enter the forest (green space) and everything goes topsy turvy, only to be restored in the end when the characters emerge from the forest and re-enter society) but completely inverts it and embraces the chaos of the carnavalesque. We start with chaos, enter a more sedate time in Hollywood, and then emerge once again into the topsy turvy. Angela Carter's subversion of expectation and not so gentle prodding at the world of so called high art, is a masterpiece and must read for anyone who enjoys a humouristic romp through literary history!One of my all time favourites.
MoochPurpura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I agree that this is a book that enchants! I was delighted when it came out. I still remember the etymology of hazard and chance, the maniacal host with the catchphrase >, and the winter party scene.
thioviolight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book right from the beginning! The last Angela Carter book I read before this was "The Passion of New Eve," which wasn't as easy to get into for me, and the wonderfully different, witty tone of "Wise Children" was a total delight. The novel is filled with fascinating characters and intrigues, and I was entertained right to the very end -- in fact, I was sad to reach the end of Dora's tale and say goodbye to the Chance twins. One of my favorite reads this year!
LizzieG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wise Children was written by Angela Carter in 1991, the last of her nine novels, published before her death in 1992. The story is a complex tale ¿ set on the day of identical twins Dora (the narrator) and Nora Chance¿s 75th birthday, it is a memoir of their personal lives as illegitimate twin daughters of Sir Melchior Hazard, a British theatrical legend, and their professional lives as vaudeville `hoofers¿ ¿ the Lucky Chances. All of the vignettes recollected by Dora lead towards the dénouement set at their father¿s centennial party.Central to the theme of the book ¿ emphasised by the choice of quotations used at the outset of the novel ¿ is the relationship between mothers and daughters ("Father is a hypothesis but mother is a fact"), and there is a very matriarchal slant to the story. This is very in keeping with Carter¿s other works, which emphasise the power held by women in determining their own destinies.At times the thread of the narrative is difficult to follow ¿ the timeline jumps around incessantly and there is (fittingly for a novel about theatric types) a large cast of supporting characters ¿ but Carter¿s clever use of language to describe situations and events and her talent in bringing the principals to life make this a joy to read. Wise Children requires one to suspend belief at times due to its use of magical realism, but if you can get to grips with the multiple pairs of twins, the numerous illegitimacies and the constant Shakespearian motif, then the highs and lows in the book will really tug at your heart strings. There¿s also plenty of bawdy humour to keep the pace up.
larpiainen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Talk about colorful language! Even a bit challenging for a non-native English speaker, but worth every trip to the dictionary...great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I had the biggest problem with was the author's tone throughout the book -- the irony and sarcasm, although often funny, became truly tiresome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent for any Carter fan. A laugh riot, not unlike Nights at the Circus. I've already read it twice. Definitely fun for the openminded.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd shied away from Carter before as I'd heard she was complicated and difficult...but if this book is any indication, that's nonsense. This is a wonderful book! There's a proper story with a beginning, a middle and an end (to quote my mum), fantastic characters (especially the main two, Nora and Dora, their mad old naturist guardian and doting uncle) and a lightness of touch that is simply delightful. I laughed loud at times, and at others was genuinely moved by the girls' resillience. This book was the product of a fine imagination and will, hopefully, fire many more. Read this book and let your faith in literature be restored.