The Family Fang
by Kevin Wilson
2011 Ecco Books
It took multiple good reviews and 2 friend's recommendations to get me to read this one, it just didn't sound like it would be something I liked. It turned out to be one of the more fun books I read in 2011. All four members of the family are funny and at least a little insane, but the kids are people it would be fun to hang out with.
Caleb and Camille Fang and their children Annie and Buster work together as performance artists. They stage strange pieces, usually in shopping malls, involving unwitting shopkeepers and customers alike. The family films everything with hidden cameras and has become wildly popular in the art world. The book alternates between looking back at these performances and how Annie and Buster are dealing with life as adults. Annie is a mid level actress whose career seems to be unraveling and Buster is a journalist with 2 novels that were not big sellers.
As much as they want to escape the Fang legacy, they are drawn back to their parent's home and into what could be the grand finale of their career. I found myself laughing out loud several times as I read this, and then being drawn into the drama of Annie and Buster's lives. At 320 pages, this novel was over much too quickly for me.
I like the Miami Herald's review: “[A] wildly original new novel…The Family Fang is bizarre, unique, unerringly comic, breathtakingly wonderful.”
I think that this could make an amazing film, Nicole Kidman has already optioned tt. I would hope that if she is going to appear in it, she would be the mother and not try to play the adult daughter.