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Janet

Angela Carter - Wise Children

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The �Blurb�

 

A richly comic tale of the tangled fortunes of two theatrical families, the Hazards and Chances, Angela Carter's witty and bawdy novel is populated with as many sets of twins, and mistaken identities as any Shakespeare comedy, and celebrates the magic of over a century of show business.

 

The narrator of the book is former showgirl Dora Chance. She and her twin Leonora (Nora) are the illegitimate children of renowned Shakespearian actor Melchior Hazzard, himself a twin. He denies being their father, so his brother, Peregrine, takes on the role.

 

The story spans many decades. Dora and Nora are born at the time of the first world war, and the story starts with them on their 75th birthdays (c1990), having received an invitation to their real father�s 100th birthday party - they share a birthday.

 

Dora then tells the story of them growing up, and of how Melchior denies them, and of how his life goes. He marries three times. There are at least 5 sets of twins in this book. The book climaxes with the party, where there are many surprises in store!

 

Carter obviously loves Shakespeare, and uses many references to him in her book.

 

It�s not the best book I've ever read, but it was quite amusing and got better towards the end. I think it'll give way to some good discussion at college. This is one of our set texts for AS Level English, and will be in our exam in May (so I guess I�ll be reading it more than once�!).

 

The paperback is 232 pages long and is published by Vintage Books. The ISBN number is 978-0-099-981107.

 

5�/10*

(Read November 2006)

 

*ETA: Having re-read it a few times for A Level, I've decided this is definitely worthy of a higher score than 5/10!

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I enjoyed reading your review Bagpuss, this book sounds good and I would read it.

 

:smile2:

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Having read the reviews on Amazon (after I'd read the book - I never read them before) - it seems that for most people, it's a book you either love or loathe. For me, I was middling, but most people who reviewed it had a very extreme opinion about it!

 

It got 3

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I'm a huge Angela Carter fan and I LOVE Wise Children - definitely one of the funniest novels I've ever read, I chortled all the way through it.

 

Bagpuss - If you can bear it, after having to re-read WC again, then Carter's Nights At The Circus is fantastic. Quite different from WC, the humour is a lot darker and rather gothic. Fevvers is probably my favourite literary character!

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