Geek Love

Geek Love

by Katherine Dunn

Gail Reid: "Geek Love", the wildly bizarre story of a carnival family, has maintained its status as a cult novel since its publication in the 1980's. Al and Lil Binewski ("Big Al & Crystal Lil") genetically engineer the birth of their 5 children to insure their livelihood and the popularity of the carnival. Of their five kids, two are conjoined twins, one a dwarf, one a telekinetic wonder and the fifth Arturo (Aqua Boy) is the most freakish of all with fins and flippers instead of limbs. Aqua Boy is keenly intelligent and manipulates his many followers to empower themselves by shedding their limbs and emulating him. "Geek Love" requires that you suspend reality and live in the fantasy world of the Binewskis where freaks are revered and the general population "norms" are disparaged.

In writing this book, the author was heavily influenced by the power of charismatic cult leaders such as Jim Jones who led his followers to mass suicide in the seventies. Some of the descriptive parts are appalling and grotesque but the story is so unique and the characters so original, that the book appealed to me for its originality and its symbolism. Warning! A conventional read, it is not!
Rating: ***

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