Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist's work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents' madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents' strange world.
When the lives they've built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performancetheir magnum opuswhether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what's ultimately more important: their family or their art.
Filled with Kevin Wilson's endless creativity, vibrant prose, sharp humor, and keen sense of the complex performances that unfold in the relationships of people who love one another, The Family Fang is a masterfully executed tale that is as bizarre as it is touching.
The premise of this book is so perfect I can't believe it hasn't been done before. Kevin Wilson takes performance art, which is meant to disrupt the everyday, and applies it to that most hidebound of institutions, the American middle-class family. The possibilities are so deliciously ripe. (Reviewed by Amy Reading).
[Wilson] tells his madcap story with straight-faced aplomb, highlighting the tricky intersection of family life and artistic endeavor. All fiction readers will enjoy this comic/tragic look at domesticity.
Starred Review. The subtlety of the comedy is flawless, channeling the filmmaking of Wes Anderson or Rian Johnson. A fantastic first novel that asks if the kids are alright, finding answers in the most unexpected places.
Starred Review. Though leavened with humor, the closing chapters still face hard truths about family relationships.
Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto The Family Fang is a comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family…The best single word description would be brilliant.
Hannah Pittard, author of The Fates Will Find Their Way
It’s The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I’d call The Family Fang a guilty pleasure, but it’s too damn smart….A total blast.
In his novel, The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson seems to have hit upon an unexplored corner of the art world. There aren't many contemporary performance art pieces that involve children. One exception, by the Toronto-based artists' workshop Mammalian Diving Reflex, is Haircuts by Children, in which 10- and 11-year-olds are given a few days' training in cutting hair and then fanned out to salons to give free cuts to anyone adventurous enough to let them. The show, which has traveled to ten cities around the world, has gathered positive reviews from critics and salon customers alike.
But throughout the ages, the use of children in art has been controversial, though the sensitive points of why have shifted over time.
From Shakespeare to Dakota Fanning
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