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Read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

  • Sep 24, 2013 · 7:30 PM
  • The Rubyfruit Jungle (private residence)

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.

From Publishers Weekly
This audacious, mesmerizing novel should carry a warning: "Reader Beware." Those entering the world of carnival freaks described by narrator Olympia Binewski, a bald, humpbacked albino dwarf, will find no escape from a story at once engrossing and repellent, funny and terrifying, unreal and true to human nature. Dunn's vivid, energetic prose, her soaring imagination and assured narrative skill fuse to produce an unforgettable tale. The premise is bizarre. Art and Lily, owners of Binewski's Fabulon, a traveling carnival, decide to breed their own freak show by creating genetically altered children through the use of experimental drugs. "What greater gift could you offer your children than an inherent ability to earn a living just by being themselves?" muses Lily. Eventually their family consists of Arty, aka Arturo the Aqua Boy, born with flippers instead of limbs, who performs swimming inside a tank and soon learns how to manipulate his audience; Electra and Iphigenia, Siamese twins and pianists; the narrator, Oly; and Fortunato, also called the Chick, who seems normal at birth, but whose telekinetic powers become apparent just as his brokenhearted parents are about to abandon him. More than anatomy has been altered. Arty is a monsterpower hungry, evil, malicious, consumed by "dark, bitter meanness and . . . jagged rippling jealousy." Yet he has the capacity to inspire adoration, especially that of Oly, who is his willing slave, and who arranges to bear his child, Miranda, who appears "norm," but has a tiny tail. A spellbinding orator, Arty uses his ability to establish a religious cult, in which he preaches redemption through the sacrifice of body partsdigits and limbs."I want the losers who know they're losers. I want those who have a choice of tortures and pick me." This raw, shocking view of the human condition, a glimpse of the tormented people who live on the fringe, makes readers confront the dark, mad elements in every society. After a hiatus of almost two decades, the author of Attic and Truck has produced a novel that everyone will be talking about, a brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking tour de force.

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  • MG

    Babysat my little cousin and she got me sick :( Still not feeling up to snuff, and I'd hate to spread it to you lovely ladies so I'm sitting this one out. Next time!

    September 24, 2013

  • Kirsten

    Sorry, I need to work late tomorrow. I'm so bummed!

    September 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    How much time should I plan for parking? Any suggestions on best places to find parking in the meetup area? Thanks.

    September 23, 2013

    • Gloria S.

      parking is really easy, actually...it's all street parking - unpermitted. I've never had to park more than a block away.

      September 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am really sorry I had to change my RSVP at the last minute. I am in school and had an exam last Thurs. and one today. It was my intention to come home and finish half the book that remains tonight but I am so exhausted I just can't look at a book tonight. I feel terrible I didn't manage my time more effectively. I really hope someone on the wait list is able to take my place. Very sorry.

    September 23, 2013

  • Lizzie N.

    ARGH I can't go now! I am LOVING this book so far though. GREAT choice. Have fun and I'll catch you lovely smart ladies at the next one :).

    September 4, 2013

    • Elizabeth R.

      We miss you already!

      1 · September 15, 2013

    • Karen

      It *is* a great book! Good choice, Gloria! (I think she suggested it.)

      September 20, 2013

  • Karen

    I'm so sad to have to cancel. I just got called out of town on a shoot until 9/30. But glad that someone can take my spot. Ya'll wanna Skype me in? :)
    I'll aim to be back in October.

    September 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry to change my RSVP so late! I got halfway through the book, but something came up this weekend and I won't be able to finish it in time :( Hopefully one of the people waiting can take my spot.

    September 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Are there 2 book clubs on the same night at different venues or are Geek love and the TBD the same?

    September 11, 2013

    • Elizabeth R.

      Hi Annie! Oops, sorry about that, we made a mistake. We deleted the other one and sent out an e-mail to those folks who RSVP'd to the TBD meet-up.

      September 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks for the clarification?!

      September 16, 2013

  • Gaye A.

    Best book ever....I got to meet her....my client turned me onto her.

    September 15, 2013

  • Elizabeth R.

    Oops, so we just realized that we had this meetup scheduled and a TBD one for the same day--we deleted the TBD one. We always have plenty of room for gay ladies who have read the book, so don't fret none even tho right now the guestlist is maxed out, it ALWAYS changes right before the event.

    I just finished the book and it's awesome!!! Thanks Gloria for the awesome recommendation!

    1 · September 15, 2013

  • Dewi

    I'm loving this story, not at all what i expected. Can't wait to meet you ladies!

    2 · September 10, 2013

  • Dewi

    i really want to attend to this meet up, but i also don't want to take an rsvp spot if i can't make it. I'm off work at 630, and los angeles is so vast and traffic-y that i want to make sure i can make it on time. since it is my first time attending, i'm wondering if you could let me know at least the area of los angeles where the group meets so i can figure out if i can get there on time.
    Thanks

    August 19, 2013

    • Chris B.

      Intersection Pico/Robertson

      September 3, 2013

  • Chris B.

    New folks: the intersection nearest our apartment where book club is held is Pico and Robertson. Hope that helps you plan, but please understand that we do not send out the exact address before the day of the club because the guest list fluctuates. Check your email (and even your spam!) on the day of the club. We send it out mid-morning. Thanks!

    September 3, 2013

  • Gaye A.

    Was an address sent out?

    September 3, 2013

    • Chris B.

      The address is only sent out to confirmed guests on the day of the meetup. Not in advance.

      September 3, 2013

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