Wise Children Book Cover Wise Children
Angela Carter
Vintage Classics

I first read this many moons ago and it swept me away from page one. With a stage version in sight I decided to re-read it. I am not a great one for revisiting the past as I find my passions cool over time. However  this book caught me in its spell once more, fresh as a daisy. Charting the lives of twins Dora and Nora, by default of their professions as "hoofers", the book charts the history of show-business, from actor-managers, through end-of-the-pier, vaudeville, revue and a major trip to Hollywood.  The plot is a family epic. Carter weaves Shakespeare constantly through the book, both literally and by reference. The plot which involves twins, foundlings, confusion, coincidence, mayhem, melancholy, sex and death certainly feels Shakespearean in spirit. Despite its intricacies Carter always guides the reader through with her magnificent storytelling. It is very, very funny, unsentimental and has a huge life-force to it which makes me never want it to end.  The Vintage Classics edition is worth buying for Ali Smith's introduction. For me, a classic