Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #15: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

I’ve never read anything like The Family Fang, and it’s wonderful. It’s wacky and dramatic without becoming trite or overly quirky.   Wilson tells the story of Caleb and Camille Fang, performance artists who make their living causing major disruptions in public places.  From birth, Annie and Buster are roped into each and every one of their parents performances; their entire childhood is a series of exercises in orchestrating the absurd and waiting patiently for the audience reaction.  Some sample performances from their childhoods:

  • Annie & Buster perform on stage at a talent show, purposely playing their instruments as terribly as possible. Caleb and Camille heckle them from the audience; the audience becomes incensed – half the audience screams terrible insults at the incredibly young children, half the audience comes to their defense.
  • Caleb and Camille stage fake marriage proposals on airplanes, once with a happy ending and once with Camille rejecting Caleb in the small space
  • Camille steals jelly beans from a candy shop; when the shop owner tries to stop her, jelly beans explode out of her clothing and children rush the candy like a pinata
It’s hard to do the performance art chapters justice; the events are so absurd, so awkward, and so hilarious. But you can feel the subtle damage being done to Annie & Buster. Imagine growing up with parents who only played pretend; how could you know who you are, or what life is supposed to be like? Ultimately, Annie winds up a movie star and Buster winds up a mediocre author. When Annie’s career is in tatters and Buster suffers a serious injury, they return home to their parents and their absurd childhood.

 

And then their parents disappear.

More…

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