Friday, May 13, 2016

Rest in Peace, Katherine Dunn

http://www.pamplinmediagroup.com/pt/9-news/306619-184653-award-winning-portland-writer-katherine-dunn-dies-at-70

We shared a name but we weren't related, and even though we’re both writers, I could never write anything as great as Geek Love in a million years.

Geek Love is the story of Al and Lily Binewski, their little traveling carnival, and the children they deliberately poisoned in utero in order to create their very own homemade freak show. It is narrated by Olympia aka Oly, an albino hunchbacked dwarf who is the most normal of the siblings, unless you count Chick, the youngest, who only looks normal. Oly explains her childhood and what became of her curious family while telling another story about an heiress who pays women to willfully discard their unique beauty. And a stripper, with a tail.

I feel myself stepping close to the “that’s not appropriate for YAs!!!!!” border once again by discussing Geek Love, which absolutely has some mature themes even though there’s no sex, and the violence isn’t too lurid.  It might even be YA, since Oly is a YA during one of the story arcs. It’s kinda-sorta science fiction, or maybe it’s horror, or perhaps it’s dark fantasy – it’s kind of hard to tell. It might even be regular mundane old litfic, except for the fact it’s neither regular nor mundane, although it is extremely literary.  Brilliant, too.


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