Geek Love

Geek Love

Paperback - 2002
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National Book Award finalist

Here is the unforgettable story of the Binewskis, a circus-geek family whose matriarch and patriarch have bred their own exhibit of human oddities (with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes). Their offspring include 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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2002.
Edition: 1st Vintage contemporaries ed.
ISBN: 9780375713347
0375713344
Characteristics: 347 p. ; 21 cm.

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From Library Staff

Al and “Crystal Lil” Binewski are not very profitable at running their traveling carnival, but they have a plan. The Binewskis will start their own freak show, not by finding performers but by creating their own. Through the use of drugs and radiation, Al and Crystal Lil produce their own family ... Read More »


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mickeystemms Jun 24, 2017

It's weird and disturbed and just makes you think.
Studied it as part of my English degree (Transgression and Desire), and absolutely fell in love with the book.
This is definitely not for everybody!

p
pyowell
Aug 14, 2015

"Can you be happy with the movies, and the ads, and the clothes in the stores, and the doctors, and the eyes as you walk down the street all telling you there is something wrong with you? No. You cannot be happy. Because, you poor darling baby, you believe them.”

b
betsy1122
Jun 03, 2015

I loved this book. Yes, it was creepy, but that's what was so great about it. Katherine Dunn's imagination is off the charts.

rowanquincy Sep 18, 2014

This book just creeped me out and I didn't enjoy reading it at all. Many people do like it though. Just not for me.

multcolib_central Jul 25, 2014

It's not what you're born with. It's how you use it...

p
pigweed
Apr 27, 2014

I found this story to be contrived, but a lot of people seem to love it. So, what the heck? Why not read it? You might really like it.

multcolib_matt Apr 25, 2014

My favorite book! It started me down the road of circus fiction. https://multcolib.org/blog/20140419/when-circus-comes-town

m
mariednguyen
Sep 18, 2013

A Counterculture Classic

t
thebeatlesduck
Feb 03, 2013

I'm in the middle of this book and wow... I just love it, i think by the time i finish it'll be another one of my favorites along with The Exorcist and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It has a disturbing yet whimsical feel that keeps you reading

l
loudem
Jan 12, 2013

What a weird book. Is it for real, is it fiction, is it science-fiction? Who knows. One thing's for sure, it's an odd book. All those weirdos. After a while you think they're the "norms", not the norms. Hard to get a grasp on why to write such a book. It baffles me. I was aching to finish it , but it was like moving in quicksand, interminable.

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Quotes

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cals_readers May 26, 2016

“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.”

cals_readers May 26, 2016

“There are parts of Texas where a fly lives ten thousand years and a man can't die soon enough. Time gets strange there from too much sky, too many miles from crack to crease in the flat surface of the land.”

cals_readers May 26, 2016

“They thought to use and shame me but I win out by nature, because a true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born.”

Summary

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m
mariednguyen
Sep 27, 2013

The novel is the story of a traveling carnival run by Aloysius "Al" Binewski and his wife "Crystal" Lil. When the business begins to fail, the couple devise an idea to breed their own freak show, using various drugs and radioactive material to alter the genes of their children. The results are Arturo ("Arty"), a boy with flippers for hands and feet; Electra ("Elly") and Iphigenia ("Iphy"), Siamese Twins; Olympia ("Oly"), a hunchbacked albino dwarf; and Fortunato ("Chick"), the normal-looking baby of the family who has telekinetic powers.

j
jss
Jun 26, 2008

Product Description from Amazon:
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.

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