Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “the family fang”

Tits McGee’s Books 17 – 24 of 2012

Clearly I need to improve at posting to the main blog for 2013, and at writing my own reviews. I made it to 43 books in 2012. Not quite the 52 I was aiming for, but I’m still happy and ready to take on the 52 for 2013. I’ll post more of the reviews over the next week

Book 17 of 2012 – The Virgin’s Lover by Phillipa Gregory

Book 18 of 2012 – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Book 19 of 2012 – State of Wonder by Ann Pratchett

Book 20 of 2012 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Book 21 of 2012 – The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Book 22 of 2012 – The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

Book 23 of 2012 – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book 24 of 2012 – Guilty Pleasures by Lauren K Hamilton

Congrats to everyone who met their goal this year!

Mrs Smith Reads The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson, #CBR4, Review #22


Performance art. It’s a tough gig. Most people don’t get it, even fewer ever see it and it requires pretty dramatic situations for performance events to even get noticed. The Family Fang is all about performance art and the unfortunate consequences that occur when the children of performance artists become part of the experience without their consent and often without prior knowledge that “art” is happening.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #35: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

“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.

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.


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