13 January 2012

Books: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (2011)

In this often offbeat, often hilarious and weird novel, author Kevin Wilson gives us The Family Fang , led by Caleb and Camille Fang, who are avant-garde performance artists who will do anything and everything to cause chaos and see (and film) how people react to their art. They have also involved their children, Annie and Buster in their performances, much it seems, to their own horror as they grow-up. 

But both children escaped eventually, with Annie becoming a successful actress while Buster a novelist (his first book was a success, the follow-up not so good and is now a struggling free-lance writer for various magazines). But after a melt-down on the set of her latest film, Annie decides maybe going home can save her sanity -which is odd considering her parents ability to cause a lot of insanity around them. Meanwhile, Buster has gotten himself injured on an assignment, and with bills to pay, he too ends up back home. But both kids discover that old chestnut of not being able to go home again, and quickly discover their parents are still trying to push the boundaries of their art. Whether their kids want to be involved or not.

There is a lot to like in this debut novel, as Wilson explores the damages Caleb and Camille do to their children -parents whom seem marvelously oblivious to what they've done. The droll humor in the flashbacks to their strange and memorable past events is the highlight of book. Those vignettes are truly hilarious and at times, makes the present parts a little dull. Still, this is an excitingly well written book for artists about artists. But its also the human drama -with a lot of funny bits in between- that will make non-artist really enjoy this book.

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