Synopses & Reviews
Bursting at the seam with twins, secret identities, and performers at every level from Shakespeare to strip shows, Wise Children is a sweeping and riotous account of the intermingled Chance and Hazard families. Dora and her twin sister, Nora, are the daughters of Shakespearean actor Melchior Hazard and a maid at their South London boarding house. After their mother dies in childbirth and their father bolts back to the stage, the twins are left in the care of the house's proprietor and other adopted "family" members. Dora and Nora spend a lifetime in vaudeville. When the book opens, Dora, at 75, reflects back on the years they spent in proximity to their father's sensational life, yet always somehow on the wrong side of the river. Published in 1991, just before the author's untimely death at the age of 52, Wise Children is considered one of Carter's finest and most inventive novels.