Geek Love, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Lil Binewski, born a Boston aristocrat, was in her time the most stylish of geeks.

That is to say she made her living by biting the heads off live chickens in front of a carnival audience.

This she gave up for doting motherhood, because she and her fairground-owning husband had a money spinning idea.

Throughout each pregnancy Lil gobbles pesticides, experiments with drugs and douses herself with radiation to ensure that she prodcues infants grotesque enough to keep the turnstiles clicking.

She does. Arturo the Aqua Boy is a limbless megalomaniac, Electra and Iphigenia are musically gifted Siamese twins with a penchant for prostitution and Fortunato is possessed of stange telekinetic powers.

Their story- by turns shocking, tender, touching and cruel- is narrated by their sister Olympia.

She is a bald, hunchbacked, albino dwarf.




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A carnival in daylight is an unfinished beast, anyway. Rain makes it a ghost. The wheezing music from the empty, motionless rides in a soggy, rained-out afternoon midway always hit my chest with a sweet ache. The colored dance of the lights in the seeping air flashed the puddles in the sawdust with an oily glamour.I first read this maybe twenty years ago, and this was a more successful re-read than a couple of other old favourites that I read recently after an equally long gap, as this book had not been visited by the suck fairy. I find Oly quite annoying, with her hero-worship of her sociopath brother and her later friendship with Miss Lick, and Elly was by far my favourite of the Binewskis, as she was the only one prepared to stand against Arty's manipulation and growing power. Elly dragged her on, and snapped back at me, "You're just Arty's dog! He'd kill us all and you'd stand there holding his towel."While I was reading the parts of the story set in the past, I would completely forget about Oly's later life, as it was so easy to get swept up in the weirdness of carnival life and the Arturan cult. Reading about Oly's attempts to save her daughter's tail, had me wondering about how similar Arturo's motives may have been to Miss Lick's. Her motives are completely transparent, but Arturo's were never as clear.I had remembered this as being a fantasy book, but the only thing in it that is actually impossible is Chick's talent, although there are a lot of things so unlikely that it must surely count as magical realism. I am sure that the American government would have found a way to close down the Arturans long before that many people were were reduced to just their head and torso.

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