This was one of those can't-stop-listening stories that made me carry my iPhone around the house to keep listening. Gives new meaning to the phrase "dysfunctional family" but in an utterly original way.
There are a lot of twists and turns. The character development is very good. The take-away points about art, family, and individuality are quite deep without being preachy.
The Family Fang is a quirky tale that defies easy categorization. I listened to it twice, which I almost never do, and found the second time to be even more interesting and shocking than the first.
There is a dark, uncomfortable sort of humor throughout, that's oddly enjoyable. Think "The Loved One" or something by Muriel Spark. Although the characters themselves are truly out of the ordinary, there is something universal regarding the relationships between the grown up children "A" and "B" and their driven, bizarre parents that gives a lot of opportunity for thought.
There's also a wonderful depiction of the world of creative arts -- performance art, acting, painting and writing -- that I found fun and moving.
My book club chose this book and we had a great time discussing it. Members brought a lot of interesting personal perspectives in response to the plot line, characters and themes of The Family Fang. I can imagine that some people might find the story too odd for them to enjoy, but even though there are some very dark ideas here, there is also a positive, hopeful feel to the book that makes it much more than a just a depressing read.
Therese Plummer was a fantastic narrator. She was able to perform the parts of children, men and. women, and even did a great job singing when needed.
All in all, The Family Fang is on my best book list. I may even have to buy an actual book version of it!
Yes, just to hear the funny scenes created by the Fang family in the interest of art. I really got a chuckle out of those.
A little bit of Royal Tannenbaums, but better, there is some mystery involved, but I can't think of a movie comparison.
Plummer reads in such a way that her voice delivers the story without distraction. The listener is able to attend to the story without noticing an unusual tone of voice or odd pronunciations from the reader. She does adjust her voice to the characters, but it is subtle and effective.
The book jumps back and forth from the childhood years of the two Fang children when the family was creating art by including their children in fantastic scenes of conflict in public to the children as adults. The children have suffered psychologically due to their unusual childhoods, but then haven't we all?
Listen to this book. You will laugh out loud at inappropriate times and feel the weight of the children's' burden at others -- in fact often at the same time. You will like the children and feel for them in their efforts to emerge from the bizarre cocoon their parents wove for them. You will struggle to understand the parents and to decide whether the ends of love are worth the means. You will want to see more from this author and hear more from this narrator. This is a unique offering -- a rare treat.
can't stop thinking
can't stop laughing
The epilogue wasn't necessary--detracts from the story. Should have ended before.
What happens when a pair of successful performance artists have children, what becomes of those children, and where does it take the art? The Family Fang explores these premises with insight and humor, while remaining true to the questions it poses.
The Fangs are about as successful as performance artists can be, and when they have children (Child A and Child B) they include the children in their performance pieces. The children go along with it, as children do, but as they grow up they begin to question their participation and occasionally add their own touches, or resistance, to the pieces.
We get to know Annie and Buster as adults who have been damaged in foreseeable ways by their odd family life, and we also get to know the Fang parents as they struggle to make sense of their art without their children's participation and support.
There are plenty of deeply discussable topics---what can you ask of your children, how does this example of children working in their parents' business compare with children who work at their parents' retail business or gardening route, how do we handle our children leaving us, what does it mean to be damaged by our parents? My favorite among them is, of course, "WHAT IS ART?" which is a topic I could discuss forever.
This is an engaging story, but the performance is outstanding and I imagine that the book is much better in the audio version than by eye-to-brain. It is one of those special performances that makes it worthwhile to be part of Audible. I'm led to figure out how to search Audible's library for other stellar performances. This performance is all the more impressive because it is all done by one voice actor, rather than an ensemble.
Thanks, Audible, for introducing me to this novel.
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
The Family Fang is a book I couldn't wait to listen to--and basically I really enjoyed it. It has a totally original story, and the plot progresses nicely. And the narrator was excellent.
The book revolves around a dysfunctional family, but in a funny, quirky, entertaining way. The ending, however, was very flat, and that always brings an otherwise "great" book down to "good" when it comes to my recommendations.
In a class by itself, unusual story that I can actually see happening
The relationship between Annie and Buster over time
Annie, but I liked them all
Wow, that's tough. I think I would leave it as is
I liked the beginning part of the book best, kind of dragged in the middle, but ended well.