Geek Loveis the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset. As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry,Geek Lovethrows its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.
Vanessa writes: At first glance the story of the Binewski's, a carny couple who decide to take a number of psycho-active drugs in order to breed a family of 'freaks' is a rather disturbing tale. I admit that the concept of creating genetically altered children in order to have a travelling circus of freaks does raise a number of ethical questions. But there is much more to Geek Love than pure shock value. Geek Love is as moving is it is diabolical, as human as it is magical. The Binewski's do not see themselves as deformed or inhuman, but as beautiful and interesting creatures that are able to use their extraordinariness to their advantage. The 'freaks' and the 'norms' that inhabit Dunn's world are as capable of love as they are of cruelty, respectively. Dunn's prose is vivid and stunning, and within the pages of this novel she has written some of the most wonderfully constructed sentences I have ever read. Although this is a horrifying book at times, it is a fierce and intelligent deconstruction of the concept of normalcy. If nothing else, it will have you questioning your pre-conceived notions of normality and beauty.
<p>Katherine Dunn is a journalist, an advice columnist, and boxing correspondant for the Associated Press.</p>