The classic text, now complete with a new jacket and introduction.
Angela Carter was born in 1940 and read English at Bristol University, before spending two years living in Japan. She lived and worked extensively in the United States and Australia. Her first novel, Shadow Dance, was published in 1965, followed by the Magic Toyshop in 1967, which went on to win the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. She wrote a further four novels, together with three collections of Short Stories, two works of non-fiction and a volume of collected writings. Angela Carter died in 1992.
On their 75th birthday, we meet Dora and Nora Chance, former dancers and illegitimate twin daughters of one of Britain's leading theatrical actors. They relate their colorful and amusing family history as the novel unfolds, describing their often strained relations with the legitimate branch of the family. Carter writes in a dry, comic, British style reminiscent of Fay Weldon. There is a good deal of theater chatter and a raucous Hollywood tour the girls undertake with father Melchior and his twin, Uncle Peregrine. Still, while there is much imaginative fun, the insider humor may be too parochial for American tastes. Libraries can probably skip this one.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
"It is wise, bawdy, vulgar, eloquent and very, very funny... And the writing is often breathtakingly lyrical... A masterpiece. Please share." Guardian "Wise Children is Angela Carter's best book. It deserves many prizes and, better than that, the affection of generations of readers" Times Literary Supplement "Inventive and brilliant" The Times "A funny, funny book, Wise Children is even better than Nights at the Circus. It deserves all the bouquets, diamonds and stage-door Johnnies it can get" Independent on Sunday "Wonderful writing...there is not much fiction around that is as good as this" Daily Telegraph
Carter, a splendid British writer ( The Magic Toyshop ; Nights at the Circus ) all too little known here, has a real winner in this giddy tale of a highly eccentric British theatrical family. Nora and Dora Chance are twin sisters, former vaudeville dancers not beyond some high-stepping sex even at age 75, living in a once rundown but newly smart area of South London. Dora tells their tale, and her narrative voice is a triumph: deeply feminine, ribald, self-deprecating (on their birth: ``We came bursting out on a Monday morning, on a day of sunshine and high wind when the Zeppelins were falling''). Their mother, seduced by the legendary actor Sir Melchior Hazard, dies giving birth; the girls are brought up by the landlady, and eventually come to nurture one of Melchior's several cast-off wives. Meanwhile, his brother Peregrine, who once set off to wander the world. . . . The extravagant family comes together for a lavish 100th birthday party for British institution Sir Melchior, at which skeletons galore clatter out in full view of a national TV audience. The party is one magnificently unforgettable set-piece. The other is the filming, in Hollywood in the late '30s, of a terrible version of A Midsummer Night's Dream , by a culture-mad producer--one of the funniest and most deadly portraits of moviedom ever penned. But the whole book is comic writing of the highest order: spry, witty, earthy and oddly touching at times. It was a large success in Britain, and deserves to do as well here. (Jan.)