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Wise Children [Kindle Edition]

Angela Carter , Ali Smith
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description


A richly comic tale of the tangled fortunes of two theatrical families, the Hazards and the 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.

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Product Description


* The most heart-warming book I've heard all year is Angela Carter's Wise Children, read brilliantly by Eileen Atkins...Every line is a delight. The Times

Book Description

'One of the century's finest writers' Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 516 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (30 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,702 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Originally published in 1991 and newly released in paperback, this final novel by Angela Carter (1940 - 1992) is a riotous, non-stop farce, as filled with twists, turns, travails--and twins-- as anything Shakespeare ever dreamed of. Told by Dora Chance at the age of seventy-five, the novel flashes back to the wildly iconoclastic childhood she shared with her twin sister Nora. "Chance by name. Chance by nature. We were not planned," Dora comments, explaining why they were unacknowledged and ignored by their father Melchior Hazard, the most famous Shakespearean actor of his day. ("The Hazards belonged to everyone," she declares. "They were a national treasure.")

Though their father may have been a "national treasure," he was also a self-centered and irresponsible hedonist, and Nora and Dora considered the doting Peregrine Hazard, Melchior's twin brother, their true "father." Brought up by their "Grandma" Chance, a "naturist" who claimed to be descended from the Booth family, the twins were surrounded by a bizarre assortment of "relatives," the result of their father's several marriages, which led to additional sets of Hazard twins who also adopted show business careers. As Dora describes her sexual coming-of-age, along with that of Nora, in bawdy and unapologetic language, she simultaneously describes their entry into show business as a song-and-dance team, a career that led to Hollywood.

As Dora's reminiscences continue at a manic pace--always exuberant, confident, and full of high emotion--the family's passion and love for life in all its variety become the real story here.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And the show began... 2 Feb. 2007
I had to read this book for my A level english lit course. The first time i read it I hated it and couldn't wit until I saw the back of it. But as I had to study it I had to read it a few times first. The second time I read it I fell in love with it and I still read it now and see new things in it I hadn't picked up on before. Wise Children is now like a security blanket for me but I don't think many others from my class would've agreed with me and still think it's dull. So basically I'd say it's not for everyone but give the book a chance and it really does get better the second time around because you pick up on so much more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Live Dora! 31 Jan. 2011
I read my first Angela Carter novel last year, The Magic Toyshop, reviewed here (...) and it was such an enjoyable reading experience I fully intended to read Wise Children soon afterwards...well, better late than never and what a wondrous ride it was.

Wise Children is narrated by Dora Chance, twin sister to Nora and illegitimate daughter of Melchior Hazard, the renowned Shakespearean actor. It's the twins' 75th birthday and Dora takes this opportunity to recount the dramatic story of their lives, born on the wrong side of the tracks in South London and into a life of musical theatre as chorus girls (aka "hoofers") which is but a faint copy of their natural father's "legitimate" acting career. However, fear ye not, that won't deter the Chance sisters from treading the boards, living life to the full and ending up having a less complicated and perhaps more enriching life than the legitimate children of Melchior.

Wise Children has copious amounts of twins and this twin theme mirrors the themes of illegitimacy versus legitimacy (not just in terms of birth), upper class and lower class, illusion and reality. However this is most certainly not a dull social treatise but an absolute powerhouse, rollercoaster ride of a tale with Dora very firmly at the helm. I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved Dora, an old gel who likes to give the impression that she doesn't give a damn yet she takes in the invalid ex wife of Melchior who has been abandoned by her upper class twin daughters. Being upper class is obviously not contingent upon being charitable and or/loyal.

At the outset I must admit to being rather befuddled by the huge array of characters in this tragi-comedy, but a quick glance at the Dramatis Personae will keep you right and let you sink into the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An acquired taste, admittedly 9 Nov. 2006
Ever seen the film Moulin Rouge? Near the beginning, when everything goes a bit crazy and swirls around throwing information at your in a very over the top and in you face fashion?

Now imagine that in book form. Add a huge dollop of sex, Shakespeare and insanity, with just a pinch of incest, and that is Wise Children for you.

Angela Carter's narrative is fabulous, she is undoubtedly one of the most talented writers I have ever read from, with an almost unique ability of weaving stories under stories under stories and all in between. Wise Children is no exception to this. Practically every line is an allusion to a different text, every event has significance, and every character is there for a very important reason.

OK, so Wise Children isn't for everyone. It's a book you have to immerse yourself in completely, and don't be put off by the bizarre nature of it all. In my view, a new classic in the making.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fast delivery (I'm just not so keen on the book)
Published 1 month ago by JEG
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Angela Carter
The best of Angela Carter. Wonderful writing, just love Dora or is it Nora! Love the Shakespeare connections, anyone who studies the Bard should read this bawdy, down to earth,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by karen rowe
4.0 out of 5 stars I do find it funny but also laborious
The only novel of Carter's I'm struggling with...perhaps because of my unsubstantial knowledge of Shakespeare? I do find it funny but also laborious. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rawly
1.0 out of 5 stars Although secondhand it was described as being in very good condition...
Although secondhand it was described as being in very good condition with no markings inside and spine in good condition but the cover was worn around the edges. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ava Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical unrealism
Wise Children is a riotous story which describes the lives of the Chances - Nora and Dora and their adopted Grandma - and the Hazards, an acting dynasty with an illegitimate... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Minijax
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 7 months ago by H.M. Swift
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew the book so it was a special delight to hear it told as a story
I knew the book so it was a special delight to hear it told as a story. Eileen Atkins is perfect for the part.
Published 7 months ago by Janet Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 months ago by C. Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read.
This is a fantastic novel. Funny, riveting and epic in scope although not actually all that long. From the first page you are pulled in and teased with hints of what is to come. Read more
Published 9 months ago by H
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I did not like it at all it bored me
Published 10 months ago by V.G.Smith-Maurer
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