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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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4,5801151,047 (4.02)239
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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Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this book. It had some cringy moments that were perfectly framed to unnerve the reader. My only problem with the book was the pacing. The book seemed to amble on for most of the narrative arc, with plenty of not-to-subtle foreshadowing before leaping into the final act and speeding through the main impetus of the story. It made the ending seem like a bit of an afterthought. The very end of the story, the epilogue, was unnecessary and again seemed a little obvious and unsatisfying. For the most part, however, the characters were interesting and their relationships were complex ( )
  WhatUsername | Nov 12, 2016 |
This book made me cry. Which is quite a thing in itself, considering its macabre, grotesque premise. I read it because I love all things circus — this book brings "freak show" to a whole new level.

I found its dark humour immensely satisfying. And somehow, it's simultaneously heartwarming and really fucked up. It's so imaginative and shocking and crosses so many boundaries, yet it's riveting and gives us food for thought about the weird and the normal, the lengths people would go to feel good about themselves, and just generally how fucked up we are. ( )
  wildrequiem | Oct 29, 2016 |
I wish I could say that what made me the queasiest about Geek Love was the novel's arguably exploitative approach to telling a story about exploitation, but truthfully, it was the parade of horrifying plot elements that most turned my stomach. A partial catalogue of the appalling incidents that are fitted into these 350 pages: the intentional creation of a variety of birth defects, human specimens preserved in formaldehyde, serial elective amputations on a mass scale, a would-be murderer capitalizing years later on an opportunity to rape some of his victims, incestuous desires to varying degrees requited and consummated, questionably elective lobotomies, a grotesquely modified horse. That these are rendered with genuinely sickening force is evidence, no doubt, of some real powers on the part of the author, and I would like to hold open the theoretical possibility that such elements could be combined into a novel with serious moral force. Here, however, they come together for no greater purpose I could discern than to shock and disgust. I hoped until the final chapters to be struck by a vision that would be original and transporting, and almost certainly very disturbing--my naive mistake. Rather than a vision, what I saw was ultimately a collection of views into an unremittingly cruel imagined world, with no more interesting comment on the world I recognize than what I could find in a campus bathroom stall. ( )
  erijens | Sep 14, 2016 |
This will have been one of the best books of the year, probably. Really gripping and touching, and really freaky and crazy. It's also written really well, I haven't read such beautiful and coherent prose in a long time.
Recommended to absolutely everyone. But keep an open mind. This is a crazy book about very different people. But the writer makes them very approachable and easy to relate to. ( )
  avalinah | Sep 11, 2016 |
I thought the premise of this book was amazing. Deformed children that were made as a result drug experimentation and toxin exposure? Children deliberately engineered to be freaks so they could become main attractions in their parents travel carnival? Unfortunately for me, this book did not live up to my expectations. At times it was entertaining and boggling, but overall it felt disjointed. I did not become emotionally invested in any of the characters, until the last couple of chapters. I found myself thinking "I just don't care what happens to them" through more than two-thirds of the book. I did enjoy the last couple of chapters when we found out the fate of the twins and the rest of the carnival, and the way Dunn tied everything together made for an outstanding conclusion. I just wish I would've felt that way before the last 50 pages. ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Jul 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (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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