NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME, PEOPLE, SALON, AND ESQUIRE
“The Family Fang is a comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family….The best single word description would be brilliant.”
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto
A funny, poignant, laugh-and-cry-out-loud (sometimes at the same time) novel about the art of surviving a masterpiece of dysfunction. Meet The Family Fang, an unforgettable collection of demanding, brilliant, and absolutely endearing oddballs whose lives are risky and mischievous performance art. Basis for the major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman and Christopher Walken.
Annie and Buster Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents, Caleb and Camille. But when a bad economy and a few bad personal decisions converge, the two siblings have nowhere to turn but their family home. Reunited under one roof for the first time in more than a decade and surrounded by the souvenirs of their unusual upbringing, Buster and Annie are forced to confront not only their creatively ambitious parents, but the chaos and confusion of their childhood.
“It’s The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I’d call The Family Fang a guilty pleasure, but it’s too damn smart….A total blast.”
—Hannah Pittard, author of The Fates Will Find Their Way
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Both a sly modern-art satire and a relatable dysfunctional-family comedy, The Family Fang is a quirky delight from first page to last. Siblings Annie and Buster Fang—an Oscar-nominated actress and a struggling novelist, respectively—had a difficult childhood, forced into embarrassing public stunts by their performance-artist parents. Returning home in the middle of personal crises, they’re drawn back into their parents’ madness. Kevin Wilson’s debut novel mixes gleefully absurd humor with tender emotions—we were often laughing and tearing up at the same time. We also loved the film adaptation starring Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman.
Wilson's bizarre, mirthful debut novel (after his collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth) traces the genesis of the Fang family, art world darlings who make "strange and memorable things." That is, they instigate and record public chaos. In one piece, "The Portrait of a Lady, 1988," fragile nine-year-old Buster Fang dons a wig and sequined gown to undermine the Little Miss Crimson Clover beauty pageant, though he secretly desires the crown himself. In "A Modest Proposal, July 1988," Buster and his older sister, Annie, watch their father, Caleb, propose to mother, Camille, over an airliner's intercom and get turned down (" plane crash would have been welcomed to avoid the embarrassment of what had happened"). Over the years, more projects consume Child A and Child B what art lovers (and their parents) call the children but it is not until the parents disappear from an interstate rest stop that the lines separating art and life dissolve. Though leavened with humor, the closing chapters still face hard truths about family relationships, which often leave us, like the grown-up Buster and Annie, wondering if we are constructing our own lives, or merely taking part in others'.
Customer ReviewsSee All
100 Words or Less
What impressed me most about this novel was how simple it was. Simple, yet deeply funny and warm.
I never quite knew what might happen next and that kept me jumping into each new chapter straight away. The characters were unique. The plot was weird, but somehow totally believable. And the writing was superb. Every now and then I’d hit a sentence that was so beautifully witty and funny and pitch-perfect. By the end, I was thoroughly wrapped up in this crazy family. Quite an accomplishment.
A beautiful touching book
Makes me want to keep reading more but also make me wanna slow down to savor every line. A novel about family and love in a quasi magical reality. Wonderful book.
It was ok
I was expecting the book to be better. The book started off somewhat good and progressively got worse as the book went on. It was leading to nowhere, and just repetitive writing. It was too dragged out. Poorly written book. The ending sucked!!!! Don’t waste your time or money on this. What a disappointing book.