Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Family Fang

After my recent design book reviews, I decided to shift gears back to the ol' novel.  As some of you may have seen on Ashley's weekly Need Read Greed post a few weeks back, The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson was on my list.
I have to say that I had such great hopes for this book.  Just look at that Wes Anderson-esque cover.  And it's primarily set in the Nashville area.  What could be better?  

The first two-thirds of the story kept my attention pretty well.  Parents Caleb and Camille Fang spend much of their children's youth setting up "art" in which their whole family creates some type of public spectacle to get a reaction from onlookers.  They're famous.  They're revered.  And they're terrible parents.

As the kids (Annie and Buster) grow up to pursue their own interests, a series of random events brings them back to their Tennessee roots.  And things just get more random from there.  Seemingly more lost as young adults, "A" and "B" struggle to comprehend their childhood while moving forward and being autonomous.  

The book is not without its fun moments and decent storytelling vignettes, but overall this plot just did not do it for me.  I kept waiting for something really stellar to happen, and it never did.  However, it definitely made me revisit my ideas about what constitutes art.  (The performance pieces described within the chapters don't make the cut for me.)  Although worth a lazy-day read, I won't be picking this one up again or strongly recommending it to others.  Based on a very quick Google search, it appears that Nicole Kidman is starring in and producing the movie adaptation, coming soon.  I'll probably Redbox it.  :)

Sample quote from the prologue:

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.  Their children called it mischief.  "You make a mess and then you walk away from it," their daughter, Annie, told them.  "It's a lot more complicated than that, honey," Mrs. Fang said...

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