Thursday, January 15, 2015
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Geek Love opens with a father telling his children a story. He's telling them the story of how he met their mother. The children love this story, and listen to it eagerly.
A lovely beginning, right? Well...Al met their mother, Crystal Lil, when she was geeking, that is, biting the heads off of live chickens for show.
With this skewed storytelling scene, we are brought into the Binewski family, Al and Crystal Lil, the creators of Fabulon, and their children who are also the main attractions of the traveling carnival.
The Binewski's lives revolve around the carnival, Al and Crystal Lil literally creating their children to be attractions for Fabulon. There are the gentle Siamese twins, there is megalomaniac Aqua Boy, and there is Olympia, the humpbacked, albino dwarf, who narrates.
We see Oly's family and carnival life through her eyes, the eyes of what is her normal. The Binewskis are a family, and as families do, they deal with sibling rivalry, struggle with parents, with living together in close quarters, with growing up.
They are also a family of freaks, and proudly so.
I had a lot of different reactions while I was reading Geek Love. Revulsion, recognition, fascination...What is freakish? What is normal? Who's to say? I couldn't put this down.
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