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The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
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The Family Fang (2011)

by Kevin Wilson

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This book is possibly the best novel I've read all year. I laughed, cringed, and exclaimed out loud at many points during the story. It's crazy-bizarre, and touching at the same time. Make sure you read this before you die! ( )
  wscalfaro | Aug 6, 2014 |
I was entertained but not engrossed by the antics of the family Fang and found the resolution a little forced and unconvincing. All things considered, a pretty good read. ( )
  emilyingreen | May 28, 2014 |
I grabbed this book from a free e-book site, and well, it was free. From the author's credentials, this seems to be literary fiction. From the cover copy, it seems to be a comedy. I didn't find it funny (tastes differ) and frankly, it seemed pointless. I'm guessing it's a satire of a certain type of performance artist, and if I had more contacts in that world, I'd be more amused. In general - don't bother. ( )
  teckelvik | Mar 23, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book way more than I expected - I'd like to give it 4.5 stars. It was offbeat, funny and the characters were so eccentric. I look forward to reading more from Kevin Wilson. ( )
  susan.h.schofield | Mar 22, 2014 |
This was a really refreshing and unique read. By way of old commercial cliche "If you liked the Royal Tenenbaums you'll love The Family Fang". There was so much to discover in this book. There are books within the book as well as movie plots and crazy plot acts. A tale of family like no other. I have not read anything like this in a long time.

I preferred this to Mr. Wilson's short story collection, Tunneling To The Center of the Earth. But if you enjoyed this - pick it up it is worth reading. ( )
  dms02 | Feb 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Somewhere between those happy families that Tolstoy felt were all alike and the unhappy families he claimed were unhappy in their own ways lie the quirky families we all love....With their eccentric relatives always up to crazy shenanigans, this vast fictional genealogy reflects our conflicted embarrassment and affection for the people who raised us....It’s a delightfully odd story about the adult children of a pair of avant-garde performance artists. Since leaving home, Annie and Buster Fang have done everything they can to avoid their parents’ outlandish behavior, but self-destructive wackiness seems to run in their genes. ..the poignant truth Wilson captures beneath the humor of this peculiar family: Our crazy parents’ offenses sometimes loom so large that we don’t realize just what they did for us until it’s too late. Here, in the pages of this droll novel, is a chance to come home and make up.
 
But Mr. Wilson, though he writes wittily about various outré Fang performance pieces, resists putting too much emphasis on the family gimmick. These events have names (the kids’-singing-angers-heckler bit is loftily called “The Sound and the Fury”) and dates and artistic goals. But they also have consequences. That’s what makes this novel so much more than a joke.

Mr. Wilson explores the damage inflicted on children raised in an atmosphere that is intentionally confusing. ...Although Mr. Wilson sometimes hints too neatly at where his book is headed, he manages to make the final stages genuinely shocking. This last part of “The Family Fang” packs a wallop because the rest of the book has been so quirky and seemingly light. But the stakes in the Fang war of wills get higher as the book proceeds, and they move from the specific to the universal.
 
A Delightful Portrait Of The Screwball 'Family Fang...That's why it's such a minty fresh delight to open up Kevin Wilson's debut novel, The Family Fang, and feel the revitalizing blast of original thought, robust invention, screwball giddiness....a family story that's out-of-the-box, and funny, and, also, genuinely moving. Wilson's inventive genius never stops for a rest break. ..Wilson might as well have been writing a review for his own strange and wonderful novel, for The Family Fang indeed reads as a work of "choreographed spontaneity" that will linger in your mind long after the mall has closed and the mess in the restaurant has been cleaned up.
 
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Epigraph
It is grotesque how they go on
loving us, we go on loving them
The effrontery, barely imaginable,
of having caused us. And of how.
Their lives: surely
we can do better than that.
—WILLIAM MEREDITH, "PARENTS"
"It wasn't real; it was a stage set, a stagy stage set."
—DOROTHY B. HUGHES, IN A LONELY PLACE
Dedication
For Leigh Anne
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Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief.
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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 performance-- their magnum opus-- whether 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. The novel displays a keen sense of the complex performances that unfold in the relationships of people who love one another.… (more)

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