“Great art is difficult – that’s the motto of the family Fang. The family consists of Caleb and Camille (the parents), Annie (Child A) and Buster (Child B). The family Fang create art: performance art, provocations, interventions – call it what you like. And many people certainly don’t call it art. But as Annie and Buster grow up, like all children, they find their parents’ behaviour an embarrassment. They refuse to take up their roles in these outrageous acts. They escape; Annie becomes an actor, a star in the world of indie filmmaking, and Buster pursues gonzo journalism, constantly on the trail of a good story. But when their lives start to fall apart, there is nowhere left to go but home. Meanwhile Caleb and Camille have been planning their most ambitious project yet and the children have no choice; like it or not, they will participate in one final performance. The family Fang’s magnum opus will determine what is ultimately more important: their family or their art.”
This was so close to being a favourite, I really loved so much of it and if it wasn’t for the ending I would have adored it. This is a wonderful mix of quirky and brutally realistic with charming characters and a totally unique concept, which makes a nice change from paranormal romances and dystopias. Whimsical and beautiful and heartbreaking, it’s a Wes Anderson film in book form. Wilson’s writing is wonderful, it manages to really lift you, there were moments were I felt buoyant with the lovely way he describes people and events. There are moment which are just suffused with joy and that made me laugh in pleasure. But the seemingly joyous and quirky style meant that I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming melancholy ending. It wasn’t surprising in itself and I can understand why Wilson chose to end it that way but I would have preferred a little more of the beautiful absurdity and for it to be less bleak and matter of fact.
The full review is on my blog.
First Line: ‘Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art, their children called it mischief.’
Why I read it: I saw it reviewed on the Cannonball group blog and though it sounded right up my street so I ordered it from Amazon.
Who I would recommend it to: Fans of quirky, unpredictable fiction with an solid emotional backbone.