15 journalers for this copy...
I'd better include a back cover description for this one so you know what you're getting into!
"Lil Binewski, born a Boston aristocrat, was in her time the most stylish of geeks. That is to say she made her living by biting the heads off live chickens in front of a carnival audience. This she gives up for doting motherhood, because she and her fairground-owning husband had a money spinning idea. Throughout each pregnancy Lil gobbles pesticides, experiments with drugs and douses herself with radiation to ensure that she produces infants grotesque enough to keep the turnstiles clicking. She does. Arturo the Aqua Boy is a limbless megalomaniac, Electra and Iphigenia are musically gifted Siamese twins with a penchant for prostitution and Fortunato is possessed of strange telekinetic powers. Their story - by turns shocking, tender, touching and cruel - is narrated by their sister Olympia. She is a bald, hunchbacked, albino dwarf."
As I had never heard of this book before seeing it on a BC related website (Bizarre Bookrings) I have decided to offer it for the 'Book in a Million' Challenge and have purchased an extra copy for this bookray. I hope you all enjoy it!
To be released to yourotherleft after a lengthy sojourn in Virginia.
Kdhnow skipped due to lack of response to PMs over several weeks.
Thanks for sharing, Deerskin, and please accept my apoligies for having held up the book so long. kellyonhiatus asked to be skipped, so I'll be mailing this to KathyS either today or tomorrow.
I've a couple of ring/loan books ahead of it but I'll read it as soon as possible.
Thanks for sharing Deerskin and you'll be pleased to know that the book is still looking good :o)
I will now readvertise this bookray for new members.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
On it's way to Pookledo via 2nd class post. Hope it arrives safely. Enjoy :o)
I'm going to be a little late passing it on, but I'm doing my best to finish it as soon as possible.
It's a great book and I'm loving it, but it's taking so long to get through!
It usually takes me a week to read a book of this size, but this one took me 3 weeks. Definitely worth it as long as you aren't easily offended.
I'm going to passs this book onto angellica at the next Nottingham Bookcrossers Meet.
Angellica has asked to be missed out as she has lots of bookring books at the moment but would like to be added on to the list so she gets to read it at some point.
I've just PMed huckleby so I can post the book on to continue it's travels.
Sorry for the delay.
It wasn't as horrific as I expected after reading other people's journal entries. I found myself really caring for the characters, particularly Chick and the twins. Some of the scenes are a bit distasteful, but there wasn't anything that I found really stomach-churning. I wonder what that says about me...
Anyway, thanks very much for sharing. I hope everyone that reads this in the future enjoys it as much as I did. It'll be on its way to Navig8r as soon as I have an address.
Thanks for sending it. I should add that I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also mildly bemused by the cover!
Apologies to all - I'm having one of those phases where all bookrings turn up at once!
I do think it is hard to categorise this book, but in my mind it comes under 'surreal allegory'. I engaged with all of the characters except for Arty, who I simply despised. He just got worse, and worse, and worse. What a megalomaniac!
Once I got past the disgust stage of what the parents were doing to their children, I found the book very touching. The sibling-based interactions really had the ring of truth to them: I particularly found Olympia a sympathetic character. And Chick just broke my heart - I felt so sorry for him. He just wanted to fix everything for everybody, and it couldn't happen. I thought what he did at the end had been coming for a while, but it was so sad.
The Arturism element of the story was for me, the most disgusting part. I think the author was trying to comment on the power of great oratory skills, and what it can do to people: how it can persuade them to do things that are so clearly against their best interests, and how a certain number of people just get sucked into some ludicrous behaviour simply because someone convinces them that's where their self-esteem lies. Arty could have just been a silent interesting attraction at a carnival, but through his voice and behaviour he began this movement designed to satiate his desire for power. People got sucked into it, just like they are sucked into so many 'movements' within society that cause them harm (I'm thinking of fundamentialist religion, cult-isms and sect-isms and the like where people abrogate responsibility for themselves and hand themselves over to some person who is really just a slimebag in it for what they can get).
Up until the point where Arty started interfering with the twins, I could retain an element of 'well, these are consenting adults who are just stupid' train of thought about what he was doing. But when he involved the twins clearly against their will, and took advantage of Chick to such an extreme, I really started to hate him. He is probably the most unlikeable character I have read in a long time.
As a reader, I actually found myself forgetting about the truly horrifying nature of the subject matter myself - I suppose you could say that I got sucked in: I was reading along, having become sanitised to all the strange things happening, until about 2/3 way through, when Norval Sandersen appeared to give an objective viewpoint again. That's when it all came back, for me. In the end, of course, Sandersen is sucked in himself, and I was really reminded of the power of persuasion and what I think the author's message was.
I really enjoyed the rounded characters: each of them were very well developed and all but one had some likeable elements to their personalities. There were some flashes of human kindness in there: Chick being the most obvious opposite to Arty.
Overall I thought it was extremely well done: a very good read. Never the sort of book I would have picked up off the shelf myself, but I'm very pleased to have read it. Thank you for sharing!
I have the next person's address and the book will go off to them this week.
Please can you let me know where it is travelling next?
Have offered it on the bookcrossinguk yahoogroup to continue the bookray
Then to be reoffered somewhere
Will be in the post to dolph1n when I can get through the snow to the postoffice
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On it's way to Celticseahorse.
It is strange that at this time the TV also seems to be looking? at this issue? There have been a series of 'Extrordinary ' programmes on Channel 5. It became non PC for us to 'gawp' or certainly to 'pay to gawp' but if we are truthful we do it everyday..any slightly different other is stigmatised look at the teeth farce with the jockey..how can it really be otherwise when our current view of beauty is so airbrushed and created in a specific plastic vision of reality? but interestingly the programmes have all had follow ups of how medical advances can help..the group of travelling 'freaks' did in the main opt for treatment and were glad to get the hope of a more normal life or ordinary work. Our acceptance hasn't moved they have chosen to make themselves more acceptable to us ?
So, what now? have our attitudes changed..as if :-) we have spawned with plastic surgery a new breed of self/ money madelook at me's, big bust excessives etc etc..is there not in some eeerie way a chime here with Arturism. I'm not sure, see I said I wasn't really clear yet.
Prejudice is still alive and well that is all I know. The darkness of this book shows some light of illumination, and insight to those parts of ourselves we fear to look at. It is well written and crafted, and well deserves its cult status. I am very glad I had a chance to read it.
Thank You . Have contacted next up and have address on its way this weekend.
This one went via PO as I wasn't sure my scales were working for online postage but they would have been right:-) Happy travelling over bank holiday little book.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Well, reading this at work it got alot of attention and one of the puppeteers has been reasing it at the same time as me (while I'm doing cues on stage, he read it!) I think he enjoyed it more than me... it took me a while to get past the weeirdness,. but I did and found the story really touching
Popped in the post today, surface mail though so make take a few weeks
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to South Africa
Thank you, angellica, for organising this ray, and thanks ciloma for the awesome handmade card!
Update 10 Oct 09: I'm reading this now and will try to get it moving soon. Sorry for the delay!
Reading this book made me have to review my own attitude to "freaks" and "being normal". The attitude of the Binewski's towards the norms - ranging from pity to scorn - is probably how most "norms" feel about people who are different. And yet Olly was so proud of her difference, her originality, and so sad that she wasn't more different. She was truly surprised to discover that Miranda had for a long time hated her own "speciality".
For me the most shocking part of the story was probably what happened to Elly, and the fact that Chick had to have that on his conscience - he was just a boy and way too young to have to do something like that! The fact that Al and Lil basically abandoned their other children to Arty's whims made me lose all respect for them.
Dunn's writing is vivid and expressive. I would love to read something else by her, and I would probably like to reread this book in a few years time.
I have just PM'd Bug2004 and will post the book after payday.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Sent by surface mail.