Susan Juby: If you liked The Family Fang, you'll love The Most Heartless Town In Canada
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson is about a couple who subject their kids to increasingly awkward and humiliating situations in public under the guise of "performance art." The story follows the children through their adult lives and is a humourous look at the lingering psychological effects of the family's dysfunctional relationships with one another.
Canadian YA author Susan Juby loved The Family Fang. She says if you also enjoyed it, you should consider picking up The Most Heartless Town in Canada by Elaine McCluskey.
On the Fang's family dynamic
"It's very clear as the book goes on that the elder Fangs love art more than they love their kids. And I think children who have iffy relationships with their parents, that's painful. The Fangs, Annie and Buster, are quite troubled adults. The book follows them in their adult lives as they end up back at home living with their parents, who are still trying to get them to do performance art, until the parents disappear. And the question is, have the parents actually disappeared? Is this a performance piece? Can these people get out from under their parents and create their own lives?"
On the contrast between the two books
"Where The Family Fang was all big comedic set pieces, The Most Heartless Town In Canada conjures up perfectly aimed observations about people and their rivalries and their oddities and their dreams. The scope here is more modest than in The Family Fang. It's super incisive about ambition, expectation and the baffling endlessness of what we don't know about other people."
Susan Juby's comments have been edited and condensed.