Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang was a book that I’ve heard a lot about, so it was on my radar. And I thought a book about a family of artists could not be bad. I was wrong. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I didn’t want to write about it right away because it was so disappointing. It is either so hard for me to like a book or most books that are popular are somehow not worth reading.
I don’t understand why most readers liked this book. I wonder if the families who are into performance art is attractive to readers? When I say performance art, they aren’t different from ridiculous jokes by the way. It is hard to say that what they do is art. If I hadn’t seen Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s work, I would hate performance art after reading this book.
Or does every teenager in his/her twenties blame their family for everything, and reading it in a book provides some kind of satisfaction? I also wondered if Kevin Wilson used “performance art as a metaphor to describe the situation where parents hurt their children. Then I immediately gave up this thought; I don’t think it is that deep. But, if you want to read about a strange family, this may be fun.
The Family Fang
Caleb and Camille Fang have dedicated their lives to making great art. But for their children, Annie and Buster, who have been unwillingly involved in their parents’ crazy performances for as long as they can remember, their ‘art’ is an embarrassment.
As soon as the children grow up they flee home, desperate to escape the chaos of their parents’ world. But when the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have no choice but to go back. And whether the kids agree to participate or not, Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance that will finally determine what’s more important: their family or their art.
The Family Fang is an utterly unique, moving and hilarious novel about one of life’s greatest mysteries: the relationship between parents and their children.
Kevin Wilson is the author of two collections, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Ecco/Harper Perennial, 2009), which received an Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Shirley Jackson Award, and Baby You’re Gonna Be Mine (Ecco, 2018), and three novels, The Family Fang (Ecco, 2011), Perfect Little World (Ecco, 2017) and Nothing to See Here (Ecco, 2019). His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and has appeared in four volumes of the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology as well as The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: