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Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love: A Novel (original 1989; edition 2002)

by Katherine Dunn

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4,2531021,167 (4.03)221
Title:Geek Love: A Novel
Authors:Katherine Dunn
Info:Vintage (2002), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, RL Book Circle

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Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (1989)


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English (100)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (102)
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
People love this book and though I'm not one of them, it's obvious why. There's a uniqueness to it. It's not, as they would say in the text, a "norm," short for normal. Any book could have businessmen, narcissists, sexual explorers, murderers, journalists & crazy people (and this book has all of those.) Any book can be about families, cults, tragedies, coming of age (and this book is.) Any book can have an unreliable narrator (like this one.) But this one's narrator is a bald hunchbacked albino dwarf. This cult is about amputation and lobotomy. This is the story of a family of freaks. And so on. And the writing is good too--go read the quotes section if you doubt me.

So why don't I love it? Because once you take on the characters and situations this book does, you're under a lot of obligation to make good use of it. And that is how this book ultimately fails. Not completely. But often enough. And the ending most of all. Should I spoiler it? Let me just say that it was worse than norm. It was subnorm. Tacked on to make a point. Insufficently motivated by the characters (the author should have at least tried harder because it could have worked at that level at least) and cutting short the developing relationship before it could get interesting in the easiest way possible. ( )
  Gimley_Farb | Jul 6, 2015 |
Read this ages ago, yet it sticks with me. It's about a bunch of sideshow freaks. The protagonist is a tiny man. A bit of an anti-hero, and not very nice. The story takes us inside the heads of these characters that are to a degree societal rejects based on their physical appearance.

It's a love story, but a bit twisted. ( )
  cmlloyd67 | Jun 7, 2015 |
A man, his wife, and their children, all freaks of nature, use the oddities of their physical makeup to their advantage. In the Binewski family are the dad Al, the mom Lil Crystal, the flipper-limbed Arty, the Siamese twin girls Elly and Iphy, the bald hunchback albino Olympia, and the outwardly normal baby Chick. There are also some bottled dead children. Binewski’s Carnival Fabulon travels throughout the US picking up other freaks as part of their show and influencing “norms” into admiring their way of life. Arty becomes the center of the family as he gains control of circus through his popular swimming act and through normal people who have their digits and limbs amputated to be admitted to the Arturans, his group of devoted followers.

This is a strange world in which being a “freak” character is the norm. Such a situation takes the stigma out of being “different” and makes you want to root for the freaks versus the “norms”. Perhaps. However, there is material in this book which might overtly offend some readers. Be cautious if you choose to read it. It is definitely the most bizarre novel I have ever read. Geek Love is to literature what John Waters is to film. It’s the kind of book that makes you say to yourself, “Ugh! This is so disgusting!”, but then you keep right on reading.

Check out the book title. Even the letters of the words in those words are abnormal! ( )
1 vote SqueakyChu | May 5, 2015 |
Um...I can't seem to finish this. I am unsure why. It is not that I am so precious that I can't stand difficult plot situations--I am reading about the Donner Party (Let's LUNCH) right now and don't really have any problem with it. It might be the overwhelming sense of angry longing....
  Kelley.Logan | Jan 16, 2015 |
Read this years ago, loved it then, and I hand sold many copies of it for years in our bookstores. ( )
  jphamilton | Sep 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
Als untalentiertestes von fünf Wunderkindern aufzuwachsen ist nicht leicht. Als kleinwüchsige, bucklige Albina das gewöhnlichste von fünf Kindern zu sein, ist wohl mehr als nur „nicht leicht“. Binewskis. Zerfall einer radioaktiven Familie ist nicht nur die Geschichte einer Familie, die sich spektakulär von innen heraus zersetzt, sondern ein Roman, der ganz unauffällig wichtige Fragen an die moderne Gesellschaft stellt.
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This thing of darkness I Acknowledge mine.
—Prospero, The Tempest 5.1.275–6
For Eli Malachy Dunn Dapolonia
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"When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets," Papa would say, "she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing."
It’s interesting that when these individuals choose--and it is their choice always--to endure voluntary amputations for their own personal benefit, society professes itself shocked and disapproving. Yet this same society respects the concept that any individual should risk total annihilation in war, subject to the judgment of any superior officer at all and for the purposes ranging from a promotion for the lieutenant to higher profits for the bullet company. Hell, they don’t just respect that idea, they flat expect it. And they’ll shoot your ass if you don’t go along with it. (Arty)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375713344, Paperback)

A wild, often horrifying, novel about freaks, geeks and other aberrancies of the human condition who travel together (a whole family of them) as a circus. It's a solipsistic funhouse world that makes "normal" people seem bland and pitiful. Arturo the Aqua-Boy, who has flippers and an enormous need to be loved. A museum of sacred monsters that didn't make it. An endearing "little beetle" of a heroine. Sort of like Tod Browning's Freaks crossed with David Lynch and John Irving and perhaps George Eliot -- the latter for the power of the emotions evoked.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Aloysious and Lillian Binewski, proprietors of a traveling carnival, attempt to reduce overhead by breeding their own freak show, with tragic results.

(summary from another edition)

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