Katherine Dunn is an award-winning boxing journalist whose work has appeared in many publications, including Esquire, KO Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, The Ring, Sports Illustrated, and Vogue. She is the author of three novels, including Geek Love, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2004, Dunn and photographer Jim Lommasson won the Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize for their work on the book Shadow Boxers. She is currently associate editor of cyberboxingzone.com, an internet boxing encyclopedia and magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
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.
They thought to use and shame me but I win out by nature, because a true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born.
I get glimpses of the horror of normalcy. Each of these innocents on the street is engulfed by a terror of their own ordinariness. They would do anything to be unique.
The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyone’s comfort
Can you be happy with the movies, and the ads, and the clothes in the stores, and the doctors, and the eyes as you walk down the street all telling you there is something wrong with you? No. You cannot be happy. Because, you poor darling baby, you believe them.
I have been a believer in the magic of language since, at a very early age, I discovered that some words got me into trouble and others got me out.