Friday, 29 June 2012

The Family Fang

Title: The Family Fang

Author: Kevin Wilson

Number of pages: 320

Started: 25 June 2012

Finished: 29 June 2012

Opening words:

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief. "You make a mess and then you walk away from it," their daughter, Annie, told them. "It's a lot more complicated than that, honey," Mrs. Fang said as she handed detailed breakdowns of the event to each member of the family. "But there's a simplicity in what we do as well," Mr. Fang said. "Yes, there is that, too," his wife replied. Annie and her younger brother, Buster, said nothing. They were driving to Huntsville, two hours away, because they did not want to be recognized. Anonym­ity was a key element of the performances; it allowed them to set up the scenes without interruption from people who would be expecting mayhem.

Read a longer extract here.

Plot summary:

The family consists of Caleb and Camille Fang (the parents), Annie (Child A) and Buster (Child B). The family Fang create art: performance art, provocations, interventions – call it what you like. And many people certainly don’t call it ‘Art’. But as Annie and Buster grow up, like all children, they find their parents’ behaviour an embarrassment. They refuse to take up their roles in these outrageous acts. They escape: Annie becomes an actor, a star in the world of indie filmmaking, and Buster pursues gonzo journalism, constantly on the trail of a good story. But when both their lives start to fall apart, there is nowhere left to go but home. Meanwhile Caleb and Camille have been planning their most ambitious project yet and the children have no choice: like it or not, they will participate in one final performance. The family Fang’s magnum opus will determine what is ultimately more important: their family or their art.

What I thought:

If you think you have embarrassing/ maddening parents then you should read this book to get some perspective on this.  If once you have read this book, you still think that your parents are the most embarrassing/ maddening parents in the world, you should then write your own book.

Camille and Caleb Fang like to create art, but it has to be living art – involving them, their children and the unsuspecting public.  This leads to a range of rather toe-curling scenarios unfolding, with a range of success (or otherwise).

It was an amusing and light read and one that might make you see your own parents in a new way.

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