Book 7: Geek Love

Geek LoveAuthor: Katherine Dunn, 1989
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 348 pages

Geek Love is an odd, fascinating book that has nothing to do with Star Wars. It takes upon a form of a memoir of Olympia Binewski, an albino dwarf, written for her daughter Miranda. Olympia and her siblings, – Aqua Boy, Siamese twins, and a telepath – are all products of their parents’ grotesque experiments conducted in order to save their travelling carnival from bankruptcy. They live a happy life together enjoying their uniqueness, until their older brother grows up to realize his own power and ambitions.

Arturo the Aqua Boy’s self-destructing nature became evident since his early childhood, starting with his attention dependency and feats of cruel jealousy. In attempt to punish those who might have strayed from his worship, Arty hurt and tortured them, afterwords feeling agonizing guilt that pushed him further into madness. His sisters Elly and Iphy experienced that first hand. Those close to Arty could never predict when they’d fall out of his favour: Doctor P and Arty’s cult followers met their demise just because of that unpredictability of his nature. Yet nobody dared to stop him, or maybe they simply chose to stay blind. Olympia herself worshiped her brother, and even admitted to love him dearly because she could see that ugly cruel side of him.

I enjoyed Katherine Dunn’s intricate language very much, even though it took me a chapter or two to get used to. Her open-minded and often shocking narrative practically glued me to the book, as I found myself often unable to put it down for hours. Dunn’s careful attention to details is a prime example of how to write a masterful novel. I loved the idea that all girls who work for the Binewski family must be redheads. This insignificant to the plot fact enriched the setting of the book and made it easier to picture the exotic world of the travelling carnival. I would recommend Geek Love to anyone who is not afraid to look at the beautiful side of ugly and vice versa.

5/5

2 comments

  1. Great review. Isn’t this just the quirkiest?! I am SO glad I read Geek Love – I thought it very cool. I love finding reviews of it here in blogland.

  2. I haven’t met many people who’ve read this book. I myself have never heard of it before my friend recommended me to read it last year.

    Geek Love has a very special place in my heart. I adore every little bit of it! Except maybe Oly’s excessive love for Arty that bordered on worship. Sometimes I would get so angry at her for following his every demand, or for her selfish decisions regarding her daughter’s life… but then again, it makes her emotions so real! There are not very many books out there that moved me as much as Geek Love did.

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