Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

The two children of performance artists resent their unusual childhood.

Caleb and Camilla Fang are performance artists who delight in staging uncomfortable situations.  Their art is only strengthened by the birth of their children, Annie (Child A) and Buster (Child B), who participate (unwillingly) in their elaborate scenarios.  Once the children grow up, they break from the family's artistic endeavors.  But then for different reasons (nervous breakdown, getting hit in the face with a potato gun), the children are forced to go home.  But once they get there, it seems as though their parents are bent on staging the most elaborate trick of them all.

This book was like a textbook of on how to deploy quirkiness, although it didn’t take very long before the quirkiness became monotonous.  Also, the story seemed to rely on long stretches of dialogue.  In many ways, the central idea is delightful, a confection, only I felt that the plot, in some places, felt forcibly wrangled into place.  The big sister actress is fiery, Buster is a little more unsure.  Their relationship drives the story. The main problem is that I didn’t particularly care whether the parents were alive or dead.  They weren’t very nice, and, more importantly, they seemed one note and boring.  Finally, the end felt forced, fantastical and a bit crazy.

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