Dec 31, 2014

The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson

This is a really fantastic novel about the two children of performance artists. Caleb and Camille Fang believe traditional art (i.e. painting, sculpture, theater) is dead. True art involves an unwitting audience witnessing a ridiculous/horrific/violent event. Think flash mob, with fewer people and a lot more awkwardness. Their children, Child A (Annie) and Child B (Buster), are participants in these events, raised to do whatever Caleb and Camille ask them to in the name of art (e.g. Buster wears a wig and dress to compete in a children's beauty pageant as a commentary on gender norms). As adults, well, they're pretty fucked up. Annie's a movie star, Buster's a freelance writer with two novels - one successful, one panned - under his belt, and they are both very much alone. When Caleb and Camille suddenly, violently, go missing, they are convinced this is just another Fang Event and determine to find them and ruin it.

It's a great book. I love Wilson's writing and the switch between past Fang Events and Annie and Buster's current lives. It's infuriating, too, because you end up respecting Caleb and Camille as artists while hating them as human beings and parents, and I always appreciate a book that succeeds in muddling your feelings and expectations.

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