Wise Children

Angela Carter, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-29133-4
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.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Genre: Fiction

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Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-14-017530-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0199-7
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-934997-32-1
Hardcover - 234 pages - 978-0-316-13053-0
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-0-374-53094-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4090-2244-2
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