The Family Fang: A Meta-Book For Meta-People
This book, like the Steve Coogan movie The Trip, probably requires two ratings; Kevin Wilson's new novel, The Family Fang, is not about vampires, but it's far scarier, because-- in a sense-- it's about all parents and what they do to their kids out of love . . . Caleb and Camille Fang are performance artists, and they perform their "pieces" without any rehearsal, in the real world, in order to "subvert normality' and create chaos . . . which is not all that unusual today, in the Age of YouTube, so Wilson wisely sets the stunts in the 1980's to avoid commentary on the present, and instead makes the book about Caleb and Camille's children, Buster and Annie . . . referred to as Child A and Child B; Camille and Caleb use Child A and Child B as props in their wild, unconventional, and unpredictable art . . . so not only is the book a satire on parenting-- with the children in an Artistic Operant Conditioning Chamber-- and Caleb and Camille the Skinnerian experimenters-- but the book also becomes commentary on art itself, and how parents consider their children the greatest work of art, and how artists will always have to compromise their art once they have children-- though Caleb and Camille try to refute their mentor, who told them to remain childless, as "Kids kill art," but the straw that breaks the camel's back is when Caleb and Camille secretly engineer an accident that forces Buster, the stage manager of the high school drama company, to play Romeo to his sister's Juliet . . . Buster refuses but his father persuades him, saying: "Think of the subtext, a play about forbidden love will now have the added layer of incest," and the show is stopped by the principal in the second act when Buster finally plants a kiss on his sister; the kids detach themselves from their parents once they learn the truth about this incident, but when Buster is shot by a potato gun and Annie's acting career hits the skids, they return home and unwittingly fall into their parent's final piece . . . and the book has a dramatic pay-off worthy of a regular novel, despite it's meta themes-- it turns into something of a mystery, but more in the vein of this show-- to conclude, it's a perfectly written book, but if you don't care about art or meta-art, then I'll give the book seven topless scenes out of ten . . . if you do care about art and meta-art, then this book is a perfect ten rest-stop abductions out of a possible eleven.