Performance artists Camille and Caleb Fang are darlings of the 1980s avant-garde scene, staging bizarre interventions in malls in the American south and filming onlookers’ reactions. Assisting them in mischief-making are their children, Buster and Annie, who take part with a mixture of embarrassment and pride. Are they exploited minors or is the decision to involve them an act of love? Can they ever truly escape being Child A or Child B, the names they are given in the titles of the art works?
Fast-forward a decade or so. Adult Annie seems hell-bent on sabotaging her acting career; frustrated novelist Buster is reduced to writing features for men’s magazines. In crisis, they return to the parental home to be dragged unwittingly into a final performance.
Funny and fast-paced, Kevin Wilson’s debut brims with just-so observations about the anxiety of influence, parental and artistic. Nicole Kidman has apparently bagged the film rights.
The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson, Picador RRP£12.99, 320 pages