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The Family Fang

by

The Family Fang Cover

ISBN13: 9780061579035
ISBN10: 0061579033
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Awards

Staff Pick

Kevin Wilson's debut novel is one of the smartest and strangest books you'll read all year. Hilarious and dark, ironic and empathetic, The Family Fang is a weird and wonderful novel that should not be missed.
Recommended by Tessa, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.

Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist's work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents' madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents' strange world.

When the lives they've built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance — their magnum opus — whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what's ultimately more important: their family or their art.

Filled with Kevin Wilson's endless creativity, vibrant prose, sharp humor, and keen sense of the complex performances that unfold in the relationships of people who love one another, The Family Fang is a masterfully executed tale that is as bizarre as it is touching.

Review:

"Wilson's bizarre, mirthful debut novel (after his collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth) traces the genesis of the Fang family, art world darlings who make 'strange and memorable things.' That is, they instigate and record public chaos. In one piece, 'The Portrait of a Lady, 1988,' fragile nine-year-old Buster Fang dons a wig and sequined gown to undermine the Little Miss Crimson Clover beauty pageant, though he secretly desires the crown himself. In 'A Modest Proposal, July 1988,' Buster and his older sister, Annie, watch their father, Caleb, propose to mother, Camille, over an airliner's intercom and get turned down (' plane crash would have been welcomed to avoid the embarrassment of what had happened'). Over the years, more projects consume Child A and Child B — what art lovers (and their parents) call the children — but it is not until the parents disappear from an interstate rest stop that the lines separating art and life dissolve. Though leavened with humor, the closing chapters still face hard truths about family relationships, which often leave us, like the grown-up Buster and Annie, wondering if we are constructing our own lives, or merely taking part in others'. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"The Family Fang is a comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family. Like everything else Kevin Wilson does, I have never seen anything like it before. The best single word description would be brilliant." Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder

Review:

"Each page feels like unearthing a discovery. This is the kind of novel you fall in love with: tender-hearted, wonder-filled, a world all its own.... Wilson is such [a] talent, so rare and beautiful and big." Josh Weil, author of The New Valley

Review:

"[Kevin Wilson] tells his madcap story with straight-faced aplomb, highlighting the tricky intersection of family life and artistic endeavor. All fiction readers will enjoy this comic/tragic look at domesticity." Library Journal

Review:

"Wilson commands the cavalry riding around the vastly important Army of the Loopy... rides slashing from the Implausible to the Plausible, and from there quickly to the Necessary and on to the True. The Family Fang will appear Coenized out of Hollywood but you should catch them here first." Padgett Powell, author of The Interrogative Mood

Review:

"Don't be surprised if this becomes one of the most discussed novels of the year." Booklist

Review:

"As he did in Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, Kevin Wilson asks big questions with subtle humor and deep tenderness." NPR.org

Review:

"The subtlety of the comedy is flawless, channeling the filmmaking of Wes Anderson or Rian Johnson. A fantastic first novel that asks if the kids are alright, finding answers in the most unexpected places." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"It's The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I'd call The Family Fang a guilty pleasure, but it's too damn smart. Here, finally, is a much needed reminder that astute fiction can still be a total blast." Hannah Pittard, author of The Fates Will Find Their Way

About the Author

Kevin Wilson is the author of the story collection Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Ecco/HarperPerennial, 2009), which received an Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Shirley Jackson Award. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere, and has appeared in four volumes of the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology. He has received fellowships from the Mac-Dowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife, the poet Leigh Anne Couch, and his son, Griff, where he teaches fiction at the University of the South and helps run the Sewanee Writers' Conference.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 14 comments:

Josh Spilker, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Josh Spilker)
"humorous."
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
elephantae, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by elephantae)
Absolutely loved this novel! A mixture of wit and heartbreak and unpredictability that I couldn't put down.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Susan Squires, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Susan Squires)
Hilarious and insightful tale of parenting and growing up. Mr. and Mrs. Fang are performance artists determined to prove that kids don't kill art, so they make their children part of their crazy performances. Touching and distressing how this affects the children as they become adults. Funny at every turn.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 14 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061579035
Author:
Wilson, Kevin
Publisher:
Ecco
Author:
Andrews, Lynn V.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Body, Mind and Spirit
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20110809
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.89 in 17.78 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

The Family Fang New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$23.99 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Ecco - English 9780061579035 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Kevin Wilson's debut novel is one of the smartest and strangest books you'll read all year. Hilarious and dark, ironic and empathetic, The Family Fang is a weird and wonderful novel that should not be missed.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wilson's bizarre, mirthful debut novel (after his collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth) traces the genesis of the Fang family, art world darlings who make 'strange and memorable things.' That is, they instigate and record public chaos. In one piece, 'The Portrait of a Lady, 1988,' fragile nine-year-old Buster Fang dons a wig and sequined gown to undermine the Little Miss Crimson Clover beauty pageant, though he secretly desires the crown himself. In 'A Modest Proposal, July 1988,' Buster and his older sister, Annie, watch their father, Caleb, propose to mother, Camille, over an airliner's intercom and get turned down (' plane crash would have been welcomed to avoid the embarrassment of what had happened'). Over the years, more projects consume Child A and Child B — what art lovers (and their parents) call the children — but it is not until the parents disappear from an interstate rest stop that the lines separating art and life dissolve. Though leavened with humor, the closing chapters still face hard truths about family relationships, which often leave us, like the grown-up Buster and Annie, wondering if we are constructing our own lives, or merely taking part in others'. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "The Family Fang is a comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family. Like everything else Kevin Wilson does, I have never seen anything like it before. The best single word description would be brilliant."
"Review" by , "Each page feels like unearthing a discovery. This is the kind of novel you fall in love with: tender-hearted, wonder-filled, a world all its own.... Wilson is such [a] talent, so rare and beautiful and big."
"Review" by , "[Kevin Wilson] tells his madcap story with straight-faced aplomb, highlighting the tricky intersection of family life and artistic endeavor. All fiction readers will enjoy this comic/tragic look at domesticity."
"Review" by , "Wilson commands the cavalry riding around the vastly important Army of the Loopy... rides slashing from the Implausible to the Plausible, and from there quickly to the Necessary and on to the True. The Family Fang will appear Coenized out of Hollywood but you should catch them here first."
"Review" by , "Don't be surprised if this becomes one of the most discussed novels of the year."
"Review" by , "As he did in Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, Kevin Wilson asks big questions with subtle humor and deep tenderness."
"Review" by , "The subtlety of the comedy is flawless, channeling the filmmaking of Wes Anderson or Rian Johnson. A fantastic first novel that asks if the kids are alright, finding answers in the most unexpected places."
"Review" by , "It's The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I'd call The Family Fang a guilty pleasure, but it's too damn smart. Here, finally, is a much needed reminder that astute fiction can still be a total blast."
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