Skip to main content

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Like with most of the books that I read, I heard about this on NPR. This novel was Wilson's first and was wonderful.

Camille and Caleb are the heads of the Fang family and are known the world over as conceptual artists, with their roots in Slavic Eastern Europe. They have won many, many awards and receive many grants that would enable them to perform their art and not have to worry about earning the money to support their children: Annie and Buster (known to most of their fans as Child A and Child B). In order to memorialize their art, which often makes use of their children, they use video recordings. An example of their art is this: one day, the Fang family go to the mall.  Annie,Buster and Camille go into a candy store separately and un-attached, so there is nothing to attach them to each other. Camille begins to put candy under her dress and Buster tells one of the clerks about it.  The ensuing chaos is recorded for posterity by Caleb. As the children get older and enter into adolescence and young adult-hood, they begin to resist being used by their parents in performances and eventually outright refuse.

In the present time of the novel, Annie and Buster are living independently from each other and from their parents: Buster as a novel writer (who has published two novels) and Annie as an actress (who was nominated for an Oscar but who has begun to appear somewhat regularly in the tabloids). The Fang parents have also not presented any new art since Buster and Annie became independent.

This is both an entertaining and disturbing look at a dysfunctional family, a la "United States of Tara" and is very witty.  It is entertaining and not predictable - scenes that comprise the Fang "art" are loony and off the wall and completely unrealistic but are nonetheless funny and smart and fresh.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In Memoriam

One of my most favorite bookish podcasts, Books on the Nightstand, has ended its tremendously successful run.  It has been around seemingly forever and was one of my staples in book recommendations. It will be sorely missed and leaves a space in my podcast listening zone that I'm striving to fill.  While I understand that the podcast em-cees, Michael and Anne, have their own lives that they probably want to continue with (and podcasting takes a lot of time, particularly when you're as popular as they are and, for example, as popular as the Manic Mommies are/were), they will be sorely missed.  However you can find them on both Goodreads and on Twitter.

In anticipation of their ultimate decision to end the podcast, I found a number of other really awesome podcasts to fill the void, some of which are bookish and some of which aren't.  For your listening pleasure:


BookRiot - more of a news in the publishing industry podcast but still pretty awesome;All the Books - a weekly po…

Missoula by Jon Krakauer

You may recognize the author's name - Krakauer is perhaps most famous for the book Into the Wild about a young man that goes to Alaska (and which was made into a movie).  I enjoyed that book and when I heard on a podcast that I listen to that Krakuer had written a new book, I decided to get it and read it.  In this book, which is non fiction - he focuses on the University of Montana, the local police department and at the local prosecutor's office and analyzes their job performances through the eyes of five young women who were sexually assaulted. During this same period, the Department of Justice investigated how those same parties handled 80 rape cases and that investigation yielded dismaying results. In one instance, a detective re assured a male suspect during an interrogation that she didn't believe he committed a rape (despite evidence to the contrary) because they got a lot of false accusations. Similarly, the Chief of Police (!!!) sent an article to a victim citin…

City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

I was hesitant to pick up Justin Cronin's trilogy, which began with The Passage, because I was vampired out.  But it's different. It combines science fiction and westerns and spans about 1500 pages and 1000 years and generations, upon generations of people.  It's dystopian and hopeful all at the same time! The vampires don't sparkle, thankfully, and the story isn't just told in prose - it's told via letters, journals, scientific journals, flashback, the whole nine yards.
As the book opens, we find our beloved characters in a time of peace and relative prosperity.  There have been no viral attacks for twenty years. The main characters are all struggling with something that has broken them and they each struggle. And there was also Zero, the ultimate bad guy, that wants his say and his ultimate revenge. This book is wonderful in the sense that it is Cronin at his absolute best - he is a storyteller on par with perhaps the best of the fantasy writers - of any w…