So for my next book in the challenge I went to the library looking for a book I’d never heard of before with an interesting cover. I was glancing over the shelves and suddenly saw a cover I found too intriguing to possibly just put back. I took it back up to check out, not once looking at the description or anything else.
And that is how I discovered The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.
Remarkably enough, I think this book suited its weird choosing, as it turned out to be one of the most odd novels I’ve ever read.
The story revolves around artists Camille and Caleb Fang, who consider themselves artists. The two of them enter into normal environments and unleash chaos on their unsuspecting victims. In one piece they have their two children, Annie and Buster, also known as Child A and Child B, play songs to raise money for their dying dog, while the Fang parents pretend to be bystanders who boo the children’s pathetic performance. The reactions around them as they act out their strange story creates what they believe to be a pure form of art, not like the stagnant paintings or photographs in most galleries. But what the Fangs don’t realize is what this artistic process is doing to their children.
The story follows the lives of Annie and Buster trying to figure out who they are and what makes art. The two now grown children must try to reconcile their pasts and secure their futures, all while determining if they should help their parents in their final horrifying art project.
This story was certainly bizarre. I try to describe it and still feel like I’m falling short. I cannot capture the oddness in a few paragraphs. The closest thing I’ve ever read to this novel is A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even those somehow cannot quite compare to the strangeness of this novel.
It had me interested. That’s for certain. From page one I wanted to understand what was happening. Some people have called this work comedic. And while I laughed some throughout reading, it was often more my inability to find a way to express what I was feeling than truly feeling amused.
If you’re looking for an odd read, I recommend The Family Fang. If you’re looking for something truly funny, I don’t. If you’re looking for something really meaningful and complex, I don’t. If you’re looking for a story about weird families managing to reconcile their differences, I don’t. Really, I’d say just read it like I did to satisfy your curiosity and read a weird story. That’s the best explanation I can find for a reason to pick it up.
I didn’t hate it by any means. I think like Elegance of the Hedgehog, it tried to be more intelligent than it really was. It tried to point out some mysterious part of the universe and ponder on that, and it sort of failed. At least unlike Elegance of the Hedgehog, it didn’t take itself quite so seriously.
So that’s my analysis. How much do you take a cover into account when reading? Have you ever picked a book solely for the cover? What’s a favorite cover of a book you own or have read before (feel free to post links)?
Other posts in the challenge: