The Family FangBook |
Life imitates art a little too much
In Kevin Wilson's debut novel, The Family Fang, art and family life are inseparable. The parents, Caleb and Camille, shuffle their kids, Annie and Buster, into guerilla art pieces which sometimes end disastrously, and as adults, Annie and Buster want as little do with them as possible. Annie has left Nashville for an acting career in Hollywood, and Buster has become a failed novelist writing men's interest articles on spec. Neither has turned into the adult he or she wanted to be, as Annie finds herself making decisions that land her in tabloids and Buster gets a portion of his face shot off by a potato gun while covering war veterans in middle America. Then Caleb and Camille go missing, and Annie and Buster must reconsider their views of their parents. As Wilson alternates between chapters dedicated to the avante garde art pieces of their youth and the present mystery of Caleb and Camille's whereabouts, a picture of inadequate adults emerges that is not unlike the portrayal of adults in a Wes Anderson film. With the brisk pacing of a detective story and charmingly quirky characterization, Wilson explores what it means to be both a parent and an artist, if it's possible to do both well, and how, if at all, artistic legacies may be surpassed.