Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wise Children - post I

Having never read any Angela Carter before it was on reputation alone this was picked up on a recent trawl through a local charity shop. Some other bloggers have read some of her short story collections and recommended her so this was not a complete unknown.

But stepping into the world of Dora and Nora, two 75 year-old twin sisters, and the strange world of their home in Brixton is a real experience. The narrative flows as if spoken to you by a 75 year-old and you can hear the voice and imagine a captured hour on a bus journey or waiting in some hospital waiting room with this history coming at you.

What makes it get your attention though is that this is not just about the life of the two sisters, who were musical hall stars with their singing and dancing. But the story of their extended family and the events of the past link through to the present. Their father, who has always denied his parentage, is celebrating his 100th birthday – the same day they are celebrating their 75th - and the twins are invited. But before they go their stepbrother manages to upset their goddaughter enough to lead her to suicide. The world of the two sisters has never been more exciting but you feel that things are building up to the party and there will be some sort of dreadful event or full stop added to the pages of the family history.

More from this on Monday…

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