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Geek Love

by

Geek Love Cover

 

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Staff Pick

The Binewskis are just the typical Portland family: Traveling carnies Al and Lil Binewski breed their own carnival oddities through drug experimentation and radiation. Their children include a boy-fish, conjoined twins, a hunchbacked albino dwarf, and one son without any such talents. Well, the siblings fight, the carnival becomes a cult, and things spiral out of control... then we end up in Portland for an emotional and empowering ending. Okay, maybe it's not all set in the Northwest, but it certainly packs a punch.
Recommended by Jordan G., Powells.com

This is the book I recommend more than any other — I can barely hold onto a copy of it because I am always giving it away to anyone who I think needs something that will blow the top of their skull off. On one level, it is the engaging, creepy, and extraordinary story of a family of purposely designed circus freaks, as told by the hunchback albino dwarf sister. On another level, it is a story about identity and belonging: How do you define yourself in terms of your family? Your culture? Your body? Your religion? How do you know what or who you really are?
Recommended by Lizzy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out — with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes — to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There's Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan... Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins... albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family's most precious — and dangerous — asset.

As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.

Review:

"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....a novel that everyone will be talking about, a brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking tour de force." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Page after page she shocks us....A Fellini movie in ink." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Wonderfully descriptive...the comic exploration of the peculiar...gives Geek Love its main success: that and Ms. Dunn's tremendous imagination." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"What elevates this work is Dunn's controlled, matter-of-fact narrative, her skillful character development, and her relentless insistence that we address these people and their concerns in human terms. Highly recommended." Joseph M. Levandoski, Library Journal

Review:

"A Fellini movie in ink.... Geek Love throws a punch." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Wonderfully descriptive....Dunn [has a] tremendous imagination." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Unrelentingly bizarre.... perverse but riveting....Will keep you turning the pages." Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Katherine Dunn lives in Oregon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 11 comments:

Coco Nelson, January 12, 2013 (view all comments by Coco Nelson)
You will not read another book like this. A story of an aberrant family that curls in destructively on itself, Dunn's characters make a world that is terrific, horrible. Her prose--the uncanny ability to inhabit a moment in the way no other writer could, or, often, would--will unsettle and jolt.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Lyndsie, January 3, 2013 (view all comments by Lyndsie)
My novel workshop professor recommended this to me and lent me her copy. I loved it so much, I bought my own edition. Dunn does a beautiful job on making the unordinary ordinary, on making an unusual family seem as dysfunctional as any other (in their own astonishing ways). The mindset of these people and how they value physical abnormality was so interesting and terrifying at the same time. After reading this, I sought out Tod Robbins' short story, "Spurs." Geek Love opened my eyes, both as a reader and a writer. I admire Katherine Dunn for taking the leap she did to write this book. It easily became my favorite book read in 2012 and quite possibly one of my favorite books ever. I look forward to reading more of Dunn's work.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
bookduck19, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by bookduck19)
A haunting, intriguing, beautifully written story.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 11 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375713347
Author:
Dunn, Katherine
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Location:
New York, NY
Subject:
General
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Monsters
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Circus performers.
Subject:
Carnival owners
Subject:
Freak shows
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Series Volume:
4
Publication Date:
June 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
7.95 x 5.1 x .75 in .6 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Genre
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

Geek Love Sale Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.17 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375713347 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Binewskis are just the typical Portland family: Traveling carnies Al and Lil Binewski breed their own carnival oddities through drug experimentation and radiation. Their children include a boy-fish, conjoined twins, a hunchbacked albino dwarf, and one son without any such talents. Well, the siblings fight, the carnival becomes a cult, and things spiral out of control... then we end up in Portland for an emotional and empowering ending. Okay, maybe it's not all set in the Northwest, but it certainly packs a punch.

"Staff Pick" by ,

This is the book I recommend more than any other — I can barely hold onto a copy of it because I am always giving it away to anyone who I think needs something that will blow the top of their skull off. On one level, it is the engaging, creepy, and extraordinary story of a family of purposely designed circus freaks, as told by the hunchback albino dwarf sister. On another level, it is a story about identity and belonging: How do you define yourself in terms of your family? Your culture? Your body? Your religion? How do you know what or who you really are?

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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....a novel that everyone will be talking about, a brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking tour de force." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Page after page she shocks us....A Fellini movie in ink."
"Review" by , "Wonderfully descriptive...the comic exploration of the peculiar...gives Geek Love its main success: that and Ms. Dunn's tremendous imagination."
"Review" by , "What elevates this work is Dunn's controlled, matter-of-fact narrative, her skillful character development, and her relentless insistence that we address these people and their concerns in human terms. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "A Fellini movie in ink.... Geek Love throws a punch."
"Review" by , "Wonderfully descriptive....Dunn [has a] tremendous imagination."
"Review" by , "Unrelentingly bizarre.... perverse but riveting....Will keep you turning the pages."
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