Katherine Dunn ★★★★★
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.
Welcome to the Binewski circus! This is a story you don't want to miss!
In tradition of my 'magic of threes', here is why you should consider adding this novel to your reading list as soon as possible:
1. Unique Story
Dunn's story of the Binewski family and their life on the road is a unique one, which verges on a fine line between compelling and disturbing. Throughout the novel, the reader is introduced to intense childhood pains and griefs, exciting rivalry and character competitions between siblings for attention and power, and continued trauma and conflicts in adulthood. The story engages with many unexpected plot twists, uses tactful foreshadowing, and introduces depth to the storyline with a frame narrative that jumps between the protagonist's, Olympia's, childhood and adulthood. What a read!
2. Intriguing characters
One of the greatest aspects of this novel is the description and portrayal of its interesting and unique characters. From the amusing and persuading Arturo the Aqua Boy and the lively conjoined twins to the confident and oblivious Miranda, each character is given an interesting and entertaining story line to follow. The Binewski family own their 'freakness' and demonstrate their abnormalities with pride, which explores intriguing themes of individuality and identity. Also, the protagonist, Olympia Binewski, is a sympathetic character and enriches the story with her engaging thoughts and personality.
3. Well-written prose
The satisfying plot and entertaining characters are brought together with Dunn's rich language and linguistics. Dunn's uses imagery abundantly and explores her story line through an inner and outer frame that allow a multi-dimensional look into the characters' lives and development. I adored Dunn's writing and pacing in this novel!