I just finished reading THE FAMILY FANG by Kevin Wilson. I scored a free copy at ALA this summer but I was too busy moving and touring to settle down to read it. About a month ago, I heard Kevin give a delightful reading at Harvard Bookstore so I scooted it up my to-read list. I am so glad I did.
If you are a person who enjoyed The Royal Tannenbaums, this is a book for you. It has all the idiosyncrasy of that film, but the richness that makes a novel really satisfying.
I started off reading it just for the quirkiness. Here’s the plot– two kids have grown up in a most bizarre family. The parents are performance artists and use the kids as part of the act. Sometimes, the children don’t even know there is a act. Now Buster and Annie, grown up and messed up, are forced to move back home. (I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil.) I chuckled my way through the first third of the story– what wacky parents! But somewhere around page 150, the narrative snuck up on me and got deep.
This is a novel that made me re-examine my own childhood and childhood as a concept– To what extent are kids bit players is all of our parents’ performances? Can you ever really grow up? And while we’re at it, what is art, anyway? What is love? What is sacrifice?
All of this, and it’s damn funny, too.
Bravo, Mr. Wilson. I am so proud of you!