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.
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 Publishers Weekly,
"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.
by Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder,
"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."
by Josh Weil, author of The New Valley,
"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."
by Library Journal,
"[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."
by Padgett Powell, author of The Interrogative Mood,
"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."
"Don't be surprised if this becomes one of the most discussed novels of the year."
"As he did in Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, Kevin Wilson asks big questions with subtle humor and deep tenderness."
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred 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."
by Hannah Pittard, author of The Fates Will Find Their Way,
"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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