Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Geek Love

In which I share vague recollections about books I read long ago that have stuck with me.

I've been watching American Horror Story: Freakshow and it reminds me so much of Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I swore I had written about that book on my blog somewhere, but when I checked I only found it in my To Read list from 2007, and my list of what I read from 2008. (For the record, I've now read 27 of the 60 books on that To Read list.)

Geek Love is about a family of carnies who deliberately create birth defects in their offspring so they can use their human oddities as attractions for their show. Thanks to all the drugs the parents take, their troupe includes a set of conjoined twins, a boy who has flippers instead of limbs, and an albino hunchback, among others. You can imagine how dysfunctional this family must be. These people were so screwed up, and I don't just mean physically. When you're making sure your kids have severe disabilities just to make a profit, you really aren't in a family with healthy relationships. The story took place over a pretty long time period, and ends far after their performing days are over.

This novel was so dark and weird and sad, and I know it's not for everyone, but if you can take this sort of relentless horror with such realistically-crafted characters that it seems like it could well be real, you might be interested in this book. You're unlikely to ever forget it.

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