dysfunctional families -- fiction
Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary loves like a tiger and a hurricane in The Precious One. Years ago, her family suffered “the combustion” as they call it, separation not being a strong enough word. Her father Wilson traded his old family for a new, improved one: Caro the glass artist and the precious daughter Willow. He also destroys Taisy’s relationship with her childhood sweetheart Ben.
“I have a meanness inside of me, real as an organ.” - Libby Day
The plot and characters in The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson, are full of surprises. Grown-up siblings Annie and Buster Fang end up back home with their parents when both their lives implode in creative ways. Buster, while writing for a macho magazine, was shot with a potato gun, doing serious injury to his face. Actress Annie shed some extra clothes on a movie set and got blacklisted. Adrift and in need, they naturally return home.
But coming home for them is no staid Norman Rockwell gathering. Annie and Buster Fang grew up being conduits for their parents’ eccentric artistic visions. Chapters describe parents Caleb and Camille Fang’s disturbing performance art events with their children, stage-named Child A and Child B. The elder Fangs tightly tangled their family and their art, and, not surprisingly, the children are “messed up.” Funny, thoughtful and disturbing, this novel tests the boundaries of how most of us define art and family.