I had to read Several Perceptions a few years ago at uni and found it a torment - I like my books grounded in reality and have an aversion to features like magic realism and dream sequences. However, I know Angela Carter has many devoted fans and thought maybe I was missing something, so decided to give her a second chance with Wise Children.
I certainly found this book more enjoyable than Several Perceptions, notably because it does at least try to follow some kind of linear narrative and has more developed characters. Also, I liked the theatrical world it evoked, ranging from sordid goings-on in draughty local theatres to big-budget Hollywood glitz. The narrator, Dora Chance, is wickedly funny, she may be an old lady but I often found myself smiling at her wry and sometimes crude observations on life. I also warmed to the characters of Grandma and Uncle Perry, though twins Saskia and Imogen were like pantomime ugly sisters and Melchior wasn't particularly likeable. I did find myself getting quite confused and having to refer to the "cast of characters" at the back of the book to remember who everyone was (so many twins and uncertain paternities, they could keep Trisha busy for a year) - you really can't let your attention wander when reading this book.
Yes, this book is full of crazy coincidences and some of the "set piece" scenes are quite ridiculous, but if you can suspend your disbelief and silence the little voice in your head saying "that would never happen", it's quite an enjoyable read and I will probably try out some of her other novels.
It's worth adding that, although it's about 15 years old, this book is quite topical in many ways, particularly the satire of celebrity culture and people living their lives in public (the demise of Tristram and Tiffany's relationship on live TV, for example), while the image of Saskia as a TV chef suggestively licking spoons should strike a chord with today's readers!