Book Review: The Family Fang

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.

Their children called it mischief.

I called it disturbing.

I called it compulsively readable.

But mostly, disturbing. It’s like watching a train wreck. You can’t look away. And while I was so amazingly frustrated and down right pissed right off with Mr. and Mrs. Fang, I suppose that is the hallmark of Kevin Wilson’s “art” right? Seeing as it evoked that much emotion in me where I found myself wanting to shake the life out of these so-called”parents” constantly, it must mean that this book achieved what it set out to do. It definitely had me talking about it, going back to it every chance I got.

Caleb and Camille Fang are performance artists where every moment in their lives is devoted to performing their “art”, their happenings, their events. This includes their two children, whom they only refer to as  A and  B.  Two sad and innocent children not allowed to live in, or be loved in a  conventional family setting, EVER. Instead used only as props for “events”, “happenings” – their parent’s “art”. (Children kill art, or is it that art kills children? a line somewhere in this book.)

As a result of these happenings, Annie and Buster are completely confused, instable and messed right up adults. They are unable to form healthy and normal relationships since they are “hardwired wrong”. The most psychologically damaged one is Buster as he is the more vunerable and sensitive child that is utterly unable to distinguish between reality and one of his parent’s “events”. Oh how my heart ached for Buster.

`They were enjoying the explanation of their grand design. They spoke with reverance about the way they had deformed the lives of those around them so their idea could take shape, be willed in to existence.

`You have never cared for us, for anyone but yourselves,`she began “You’ve done as much as you possibly could to wreck our lives. You made us do everything you wanted, and when we couldn’t do it anymore, you left us.”

“You left us,” Caleb said, the anger a heavy thing in his voice. “You two left us to pursue inferior forms of art. You disappointed us. You nearly ruined what we made. And now, we’ve made something better than anything we’ve done before and you two are not part of it.”

“We are a part of it,” said Buster “We’re your son and daughter.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.” Caleb said. (Chapter Thirteen)

Since it was so compusively readable, just downright disturbing too, I give it 3.5 stars. 4 stars? I don’t know, perhaps I need to think about it some more.