Nora and Dora, the 'famous' Chance sisters, prepare to go to their perennially absent father's 100th birthday party. With a wide and colourful, often rather crazy cast, the story veers off in a multitude of directions as Dora's reminiscent narrative slips from past to present suddenly and seamlessly throughout. The illegitimate 'bastard' Chance twins are the black sheep of the family. The all-singing, all-dancing, sweary, aging, make-up caked, high-heeled, bawdy, gritty and overall magnetic Chance twins, that is.
Never apart for long, the two are very much peas from the same pod: Sir Melchior Hazard, surviving head of a great acting dynasty, who is imminently to celebrate his 100th birthday. Packed with gags, tears, histories, mysteries, feuds and romantic (and some not-so-romantic) unions, 'Wise Children', like the Chance girls, doesn't miss a trick, and is jam-packed with all of the entrancing magic realism and nouveau-feminism that has ensconced Angela Carter so snugly in the canon of revered cult writers.
"What gives Angela Carter's carnivalesque 1991 novel a shot of new life is Eileen Atkins's superb characterisation. She is 75-year-old Dora, whirling the listener through the dancing, prancing lives of theatrical twin sisters, plus a whole cupboardful of fantastical family members." (
"Angela Carter�s (Wise Children) (...) is sheer and utter bliss, brilliantly read by Eileen Atkins."(The Express)
"What a bouncy and immediate new dimension audiobooks bring to books that are written with ebullience, firecracker wit and unstoppable pace." (The Times)
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I absolutely loved this audiobook and was quite bereft when it finished. Not only does Angela Carter tell a fascinating story, but the narration was a perfect fit to the main character. There is a wonderful sense of time and place and I found it easy to imagine the different characters from the book itself and from the way they were voiced.
I highly recommend Wise Children and will be looking out for more Angela Carter audiobooks.
- Stephanie Jane
Best audio book I've ever heard
- Radio Fan