Quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read, and I don’t take that lightly. Geek Love, a masterpiece by Katherine Dunn, is dark, disturbing, perfectly dystopian. Dunn’s novel surrounds the dynamic of a fiercely competitive family who love each other so much it’s destined to come to a violent end.
Two characters in this book are the all-stars: Arty and Oly. They were both characterized so endearingly that they felt larger than life, irregardless of one being a boy with muscular fins with a penchant for making people worship him and the other a bald albino dwarf who sleeps in a cupboard and is in love with Arty.
Dunn writes deformity as a non-oddity, as the family is disgusted with “norms” (in fact, it’s the whole guise of normality that surrounds Chick, which also happens to be the bomb ready to detonate the family). Chick appeared to me to be one of the weaker characters–he was like the cousin on the Adams Family that nobody likes because she’s pretty. He’s deceptively simple, and I think Dunn writes him pathetically so–but I have to say, he’s very lovable (as is Miranda with her little pig tail).
The only thing that comes close to this is DFW’s Infinite Jest. It had the same aura of absurdity surrounding it. This would fall into the category of absurdist fiction/dark comedy/real life? What I like about this book that I don’t like about other genres popping up in the present day (slacker fiction, sick lit) is that it’s a writer that knows she’s good and she does something with it that advances our own notions of self, and society, and she does it with gusto and daring.