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The Family Fang: A Novel Paperback – April 17, 2012
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The Fang Family, mother Camille, father Caleb, and children A (Annie) and B (Buster), are conceptual performance artists who put on their productions in shopping malls in the South. The parents had conceived of their work and then incorporated their children in the acts since birth. In many cases, the parents put their children in physical danger from an early age, all in the name of "artistic license". Leaving a six year old to wander around a mall alone, for instance, doesn't constitute good parenting in my book. But if the Fangs were physically negligent of their two children, they were even more so psychologically. Annie and Buster grew up in a house where nothing was as it seemed and no relationship seemed based on affection - rather based on the childrens' ability to perform in the art acts.
It seems true to me that children growing up with unstable parents in a slap-dash household, often become more mature than the parents who are supposed to be parenting them. This is the case in the Fang family as the children, "A" and "B" as they're known in the art world, mature into adults. But damaged children often grow into damaged adults, as "mature" as they may seem to others looking in - particularly as compared to the parents. As the two children grew up, Annie to become a respected young actress and Buster a novelist of middling success, they find themselves unable to relate in a "normal" relationship. They have each other as support as their parents slip away into their own twosome world.Read more ›
The Fangs, in particular Mr. Fang, believe that all true art is in motion and happens absent a sterile environment. His life's work is creating scenes in public places. Think Improv Everywhere, but less legal and more dangerous. The Fangs refer to their children as A (Annie) and B (Buster). The children are mere character actors (or even props) in the Fang family's desire to create art. The desires of the children are assumed and even foisted upon them.
I could have given the book anywhere from three to five stars. Even as I was disliking it, I was loving it. I don't remember the last book that made me feel this way. I will remember it for a long time.
If you are a parent of a child who is talented at anything (and every child is), and especially if you or your child enjoy the performance arts, you don't want to miss this book.
And what of family versus art which was all over the pre publicity blurbs? An ethereal issue at best. The story line is stashed away in Annie and Buster's sibling relationship and its fun digging this out because there is enough literary art and gamesmanship to keep English majors (and former English majors) happy. Herman Melville gets prominent play, especially the first line of his white whale tale.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting reading if you have absolutely nothing else to do. Who would ever be caught in this framework? Read morePublished 8 days ago by Paul B.
This book is entertaining but also gives an interesting glimpse into the blurring of lines between art and life boundaries and personal lives, etc. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jessica K
Not to spoil the plot, but the 'twist' towards the end was a bit unnerving at that point of the story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ryan Benson
I chose to purchase the kindle version of this novel as I saw there is a movie version coming out Starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joanne wright
This quirky mystery of the even quirkier Fangs kept me curious until the end! While the (fun) story happens, there is a lot of insightful reflection on art- what counts as art? Read morePublished 5 months ago by S. Alvarez
Like nothing else I have ever read. Very unusual and thought provoking. Difficult to decide whether I liked it or not.Published 6 months ago by Deborah Eves