Geek Love, Katherine Dunn


Geek Love: A Novel 

Cover of "Geek Love"

Cover of Geek Love

Author: Katherine Dunne

First Edition: 1989 Alfred E. Knopf

This edition: Vintage Contemporary, 2002

Original language: English


Editorial reviews on

“A wild, often horrifying, novel about freaks, geeks and other aberrancies of the human condition who travel together (a whole family of them) as a circus. It’s a solipsistic funhouse world that makes “normal” people seem bland and pitiful. Arturo the Aqua-Boy, who has flippers and an enormous need to be loved. A museum of sacred monsters that didn’t make it. An endearing “little beetle” of a heroine. Sort of like Tod Browning’s Freaks crossed with David Lynch and John Irving and perhaps George Eliot — the latter for the power of the emotions evoked. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.”



 “I was running like a geeked bird all day myself.” (5)

“Certainly he would have bled to death soon if left to his own devices, but the Seal Bay Paramedics had been having a slack season.  They were full of enthusiasm and delighted at the chance to use all of their shiny equipment.  Vern lived.”  (217)



WOW!  This was one seriously f—ed up book in a seriously f—ed up world.  The San Francisco Chrinicle called it “a Fellini in ink,” – and then some.  The world of the freaks and the carnival was gloomy, depressing, and sordid.  Everyone’s life in the book was gloomy, depressing and sordid, BUT they had such colorful personalities!  Crystal Lil, Chick, the twins- all fantastic characters in their grotesqueness.  My favorite freak by far was the fly roper.  I loved this book and the world it created around the reader.



Wikipedia, yes, I know, Wikipedia, states that Dunn took 10 years to write this novel and that she was inspired by the Jonestown massacre.  I guess Artie can be a really, really freaky Jim Jones.

HOWEVER, in a 2009 interview, Dunn states that she was not specifically inspired by Jones.