Newest Review: ... Dora (Nora's twin), an illegitimate child of a theatrical family, the Hazards. While the book is filled with twins, incest, mistaken ide... more
Wise Children - Angela Carter
Member Name: lady_natalie
Wise Children - Angela Carter
Advantages: excellent writing by an amazing author
Disadvantages: none at all!
Wise Children, the final book written by Angela Carter tells the story of Dora and Nora Chance, identical twins and illegitimate and unrecognised daughters of theatre legend Melchior Hazard. On the twins 75th birthday they receive an invitation to Mechiors 100th birthday party and after 75 years of being ignored they don't hesitate to get dressed up and go. Dora then starts to look back at her and her sisters long and eventful life in the theatre and around the world.
As their mother, chambermaid Pritti Kitty dies giving birth, the two twins are adopted by 'grandma', although not related by blood a grandma to the two in every other sense of the world. They grow up in a house in London which is constantly taking on a wide variety of random women and have quite a liberated youth as inspired by the naturism of their grandma. Also from birth, twin brother of Melchior, Peregrine Hazard, takes on the role of father to the two, in the eyes of the law so as to help the small family out with a bit of extra money. As he also works in the theatre industry, Dora and Nora start their acting careers from a very young age. From small parts in London theatre to being cast as extras in America in a movie of A Midsummer Nights Dream starring father Mechior and one of his many hearts desires Daisy Duck. The story goes through the lives of the girls and their theatre careers, focusing on their (mostly non-existent) relationship with their fathers, his many wives and children, until the night of the aforementioned party.
I am sure that any fans of Angela Carter will recognise this if one of, if not the best, of her novels. Her writing style is like no others, rich in description, double entendre, and fantastical characters. This book is full of very strong and extravagant personalities, there is hardly anyone in there who isn't a big personality, you may wonder how, by the size of the book, so many big characters manage to fit in. But the do! This book is over the top in everyway that the theatre is meant to be. There was a couple of times when I did wonder who was actually related to who, but luckily there's a list of characters in the back of the book stating as much. Everyone seems to be related to each other in Wise Children, legitimately, illegitimately, by blood or not. Although the story does have a beginning middle and end it doesn't follow the usual plot form as most books, you never really know where it's going, although a lot seems to be happening at all times. However, I found this very readable and read it pretty fast, it's one of those kind of books that you can't put down, even though it has no real cliff hangers, you still want to know what's going to happen. This is a really excellent read, I love the writings of Angela Carter and if you haven't read anything of hers already I would urge you to give her a try!
Summary: a look back at theatres golden age with an amazing read