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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: The Family Fang

Posted by Alana T.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

This delightfully snarky story is told from the point of view of a twenty-something sister and brother, who have miraculously managed to survive an astounding childhood in which they were used as unwilling artistic props in their famous parents' performance art.  The two did not escape unscathed, however; each has long-standing emotional scars from tragi-comic episodes of their youth.

The book begins with the younger brother, Buster (a.k.a. Child B) returning home to recover from a facial injury due to a potato gun misfire. He calls his sister Annie (a.k.a. Child A), a famous B moviestar, and begs her to come home to mitigate the obsessive weirdness of Caleb and Camile, their mom and dad.  Upon Annie's arrival, the parents insist the entire family visit the mall to have a "performance".  Things don't go as planned at the food court (the public perhaps having become too jaded for the Fang brand of art) pushing Caleb to decide it's time to unfurl a last great artwork.  As true chaos ensues, for Annie and Buster anyway, the plot becomes more complex and hilarious with each page.

The book has been compared to The Royal Tenenbaums, the only family that approaches the comical dysfunction of the Fangs; the difference here being that Buster and Annie are actually pretty normal, just trying to survive the abnormality of their childhood and parents.

If you like dark comedy, amusingly dysfunctional families, or stories about the never ending struggle for good art, this is the book for you.

1 comment:

  1. Wilson did describe their passion for art, what lengths they will go to in the name of art, but their actions in the end left me unsatsified. The ending in general felt a little untied, hopeful (evening thought the situation seemed too odd, out of the blue), but it seemed wilson didn't try too hard at the end. Maybe that was what he was going for. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it because it's so original, but I did feel a little unsatisfied at the end- I think I was looking for more.