Geek Love

February 17, 2014

I just finished Katherine Dunn’s very dark novel Geek Love.  It was my third time through. I read it first in 2000, when it was given to me by the ever-loving as something to read on the plane to and from Wichita, Kansas, where I was courting her.  I read it again perhaps five years later.  There aren’t many novels I’ve read three times, so it clearly had an affect on me.

It is hard to call Geek Love anything but deeply twisted and darker than dark, chronicling the story of the Binewski clan.  Ma and Pa Binewski, proprietors of a failing traveling carnival, set about creating their own brood of extreme human oddities who make the carny famous and prosperous as their living freak show moves through small-town America.  The tale takes us across decades as the strange family dynamics play out between the strange siblings and their parents.

The novel is filled with extraordinary characters and bizarre incidents, richly imagined and brilliantly drawn. Murder, sex, and cultish megalomania reign almost unchecked by compassion and tenderness.   This is Gothic on steroids.

Ms. Dunn has not written another novel since she published Geek Love in 1989, though another one has been promised for almost 25 years.  I’m not sure I could handle another one like this!

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Who Voted For What? Shouldn’t We Know?

February 17, 2014

At tomorrow’s City Council meeting, Clr. Adriane Carr has a Motion listed entitled Improving Transparency and Public Access to Council Voting Records.” The Motion asks that the voting records of all Councillors be made available to the public in an updated format within two weeks of each Council meeting. That seems like such an obvious thing to have available in any democratic situation, but it is very difficult to figure out Vancouver City Council voting records right now.

It seems hard to believe that any politician would object to such a simple, obvious and cost-free improvement to accountability,  especially in a City that professes policies of openness and engagement. However, this is Vancouver and anything can happen. If you agree, please write TODAY to mayorandccouncil@vancouver.ca in support of this much needed change.