Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Geek Freak Fun

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Adult Literature

Oly Binewski is a geek and a freak, by any one's definition.  (No, I'm not being politically incorrect.  Well, only as politically incorrect as the Binewski's are.)  Oly's parents engineered their children by partaking of a drug cocktail, all in order to keep the family carnival full of attractions and bringing in ticket money.  As part of the family tree, there's Arty, the flipper boy (born with flippers instead of limbs); Elly and Iphy, the Siamese twins; Chick, who can move things with his mind but who looks embarrassingly normal; and Oly, an albino, hunchbacked dwarf. 

Oly's biggest concern is that she isn't quite freak enough for her family and she spends most of her time ingratiating herself to everyone around her.  Her other time-consuming task is her dangerous hero worship of her brother, Arty.  While much of the book is a flashback, the other adult version of Oly is fixated on her daughter, whom she gave up for adoption and now stalks.

If you think this description is horrific, that's nothing compared to what actually happens in the story.  I enjoyed it but feel that isn't the right word.  Many parts are awkward and uncomfortable; much is hilarious and much is just tragic.  Don't get me wrong--I never feel sorry for any character as they never bemoan their own circumstances.  All boiled down, it is a tragedy as old as story-telling:  just a family drama with people we can't help being related to and whom we love both too much, and too little.

A weird, clever and creative read.

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