This is the story of the Binewski family, Al and Crystal Lil and their five freak children who travel as a sideshow act. During Crystal Lil's pregnancies, she consumes various drugs and harmful substances in a successful attempt to cause mutations in their children. There's Arty, a boy with flippers for limbs, conjoined female twins Elly and Iphy, a female hunchbacked albino dwarf named Oly, and their youngest son, Chick who harbors dangerously strong telekinetic powers. If you're like me, a good story can't be dark enough. The subject matter, and the characters never seem to be justly macabre. Some come close, but I seldom find a writer who is fearlessly willing to go there. I am pleased to report that Katherine Dunn went there in her 1989 novel, Geek Love. The timeline jumps between the childhoods of the Binewski freaks and the adulthood of Oly, the narrator who is covertly pursuing her estranged daughter, Miranda. Miranda was born with a slight deformity, a small tail that she has grown fond of, but is now considering having surgically removed. The story builds flawlessly in a progression of events between the two timelines. Dunn delves into the sticky, tormented cores of her characters. Readers are given full access to the internal monologue of Oly as she struggles with familial relationships and her instinct to protect her daughter (and her tail). Geek Love manages to simultaneously be a hilarious commentary on societal norms, and a heartbreakingly tender portrayal of family love and loyalty.
Aloysious and Lillian Binewski, the proprietors of a traveling carnival, attempt to reduce overhead by breeding their own freak show, with tragic results, in a new edition of the acclaimed cult classic. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.