Monday, May 04, 2009

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

I like to read along with my students when they are reading their self-selected American novels, so I chose Geek Love, a novel I have picked up and put back down many times in the bookstore. I would describe it as a cross between John Irving and Chuck Palahniuk, heavy on the Palahniuk. I was alternately fascinated and disgusted by this story about a family of circus freaks and their freakish behaviors. Crystal Lil and Art Binewski breed an assortment of children - Arturo the Aqua Boy who performs from a tank; Siamese twins who play four-handed piano; Oly, the narrator, who is an albino dwarf; and Chick, who they initially try to leave on the side of the road because he is "normal" just as his telekinetic powers are revealed. I've read some pretty weird fiction, but this National Book Award Finalist is way, way out there.

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