Lil Binewski, born a Boston aristocrat, was in her time the most stylish of geeks. That is to say she made her living by biting the heads off live chickens in front of a carnival audience. This she gave up for doting motherhood, because she and her fairground-owning husband had a money spinning idea. Throughout each pregnancy Lil gobbles ...
Lil Binewski, born a Boston aristocrat, was in her time the most stylish of geeks. That is to say she made her living by biting the heads off live chickens in front of a carnival audience. This she gave up for doting motherhood, because she and her fairground-owning husband had a money spinning idea. Throughout each pregnancy Lil gobbles pesticides, experiments with drugs and douses herself with radiation to ensure that she prodcues infants grotesque enough to keep the turnstiles clicking. She does. Arturo the Aqua Boy is a limbless megalomaniac, Electra and Iphigenia are musically gifted Siamese twins with a penchant for prostitution and Fortunato is possessed of stange telekinetic powers. Their story- by turns shocking, tender, touching and cruel- is narrated by their sister Olympia. She is a bald, hunchbacked, albino dwarf.
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I had been waiting to read this book for years. A friend of mine loves it and had recommended it several times.
I thought it started out great. A family of carnies expands by experimenting on their offspring to produce "oddities" that can be marketed in the carnival. These kids grow up with individual abnormalities that define their personalities. The oldest, Arturo, turns sadistic and starts a cult that quickly gains hundreds of followers.
The story is told from the point of view of one of his younger sisters, Oly, who is an albino hunchback. She worships him as much as his cult members, but regrets it later in life.
The story is entertaining and well written, but horribly twisted and at some points disgusting. In the end I'm not sure if I enjoyed it as a book or not. It really examines the generational perpetuation that emotional abuse follows, and how isolated people can't see that what they are experiencing is neither necessary or normal.
Jan 25, 2008
I have never before been as engrossed in a novel as I have in Geek Love. The story is just out of left field; a mother, with the father's encouragement, takes narcotics and other degenerative drugs while pregnant to knowingly mutate her unborn children. They run a circus and feel that the best thing they can give their child is an innate trade (of sorts) by being attractions in their circus. The different children's mutations read like an idiot's Mad Lib-which I find to be a good thing. Either with Arturo the merman, the conjoined piano prodigies, or the nearly blind albino humpback balding dwarf, you have to find humor in the absolute grotesqueness of them. I never found myself too personally involved with the characters. Come on, how could they possibly be relatable? One's a maniacal narcissus, the other is. . . I can't even tell without revealing a huge part of the novel but the dwarf ain't too innocent. The book is great for it's ambition and is needed to be read by everyone whether they are disgusted by the characters or engrossed, this is one novel NO one will ever forget after reading. I read this book last in 7th grade and am now a senior in high school. Just to give an example of the longevity of the book.
Nov 22, 2007
A Twisted Tale of Love and Hate...
Take a look inside this circus troup to explore the limits of how love and hate can exsist in equal amounts in any family relationship. But this isn't any ordinary family, this is a family BRED to be freakishly different, and proud of it. A dark story told masterfully!
Apr 3, 2007
bizare yet endearing
Very few stories can give you a precise visual of what the characters look in so little words. The story does go back and forth from past to present which is a bit confusing at times but ties it up nicely. The character as grotesque as they are depicted, makes the reader relate and feel terrible for their deformities. But at the same time gives the normal people in the story a sense that they are the minorities. I could not get enough of the characters. I only wish they could be generated into other stories. Definitely a nice fall/winter read.
Publishers Weekly, 1989-01-13 This audacious, mesmerizing novel should carry a warning: ``Reader Beware.'' Those entering the world of carnival freaks described by narrator Olympia Binewski, a bald, humpbacked albino dwarf, will find no escape from a story at once engrossing and repellent, funny and terrifying, unreal and true to human nature. Dunn's vivid, energetic prose, her soaring imagination and assured narrative skill fuse to produce an unforgettable tale. The premise is bizarre. Art and Lily, owners of Binewski's Fabulon, a traveling carnival, decide to breed their own freak show by creating genetically altered children through the use of experimental drugs. ``What greater gift could you offer your children than an inherent ability to earn a living just by being themselves?'' muses Lily. Eventually their family consists of Arty, aka Arturo the Aqua Boy, born with flippers instead of limbs, who performs swimming inside a tank and soon learns how to manipulate his audience; Electra and Iphigenia, Siamese twins and pianists; the narrator, Oly; and Fortunato, also called the Chick, who seems normal at birth, but whose telekinetic powers become apparent just as his brokenhearted parents are about to abandon him. More than anatomy has been altered. Arty is a monsterpower hungry, evil, malicious, consumed by ``dark, bitter meanness and . . . jagged rippling jealousy.'' Yet he has the capacity to inspire adoration, especially that of Oly, who is his willing slave, and who arranges to bear his child, Miranda, who appears ``norm,'' but has a tiny tail. A spellbinding orator, Arty uses his ability to establish a religious cult, in which he preaches redemption through the sacrifice of body partsdigits and limbs.``I want the losers who know they're losers. I want those who have a choice of tortures and pick me.'' This raw, shocking view of the human condition, a glimpse of the tormented people who live on the fringe, makes readers confront the dark, mad elements in every society. After a hiatus of almost two decades, the author of Attic and Truck has produced a novel that everyone will be talking about, a brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking tour de force. (Mar . )
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