Occasionally, when the SFA staff leaves the office, we put our sandwiches down, our feet up, and settle in with a good book. Here's what we're enjoying this summer. All books have been thoroughly vetted and are suitable for reading on beaches, porches, by the swimming pool, on all manner of boats, and in air-conditioned living rooms. This edition of "SFA Staff Summer Reading" is the first in an occasional series. It may include books from all levels of "brow," both high- and low-. After all, it's summer. And we here at SFA world headquarters try not to take ourselves too seriously.
A novel by Kevin Wilson
(Ecco, 2011; pb 2012)
Kevin Wilson's first novel, The Family Fang, will probably remind you a lot of The Royal Tenenbaums. This is a good thing. Annie and Buster Fang, formerly known as "Child A" and "Child B," spent their youth as unwilling participants in the wacky, often disturbing performance art of their parents, Caleb and Camille. Now Annie is in her early thirties, a Hollywood actress who's taken a hit in the tabloids of late. Buster, in his late twenties, is a foundering fiction writer-come-freelancer who gets injured by a potato rocket while covering an article for a men's magazine. Just after the siblings return home to Tennessee to lick their wounds, Caleb and Camille Fang disappear. Have they really been murdered by a rest-stop bandit, as the Tennessee Highway Patrol suspects, or have they pulled Annie and Buster into one more grand performance?
Southern cred: Wilson, a Tennessee native, teaches creative writing at Sewanee. His first book was Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, a collection of short stories.
Food and drink: Annie Fang's regular breakfast is a tumbler of room-temperature vodka. Buster's girlfriend is a roller-skating Sonic waitress who brings him burgers, hotdogs, and tater tots after her shifts.
Recommended by: Sara Camp Arnold, content manager