April 3, 1989 |
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Alfred A. Knopf: $18.
May 8, 1994
It's about time someone exploded the crime statistics myth as Katherine Dunn did in "Crime and Embellishment" (April 10). During my tenure as a staff member of the Criminal Justice Committee in the state Assembly during the early '80s, politicians were also attempting to inflate crime numbers for partisan advantage. This was in the face of experts testifying that the only reliable crime statistic was the homicide rate--because you could actually count the bodies. The fact is that the reporting system for these statistics is so flaky that any group can "prove" just about any point that serves its interests.
April 25, 1989 |
Miranda's preoccupation with fat men and carnival freaks has something to do with her roots. Her mama was an albino hunchback dwarf and her papa a legless, armless act billed as "Arty the Aqua Boy." A reasonable enough explanation for an obsession. But what, then, is novelist Katherine Dunn's reason for creating this improbable family? Dunn is the author of "Geek Love"--a book that its publisher, Knopf, is promoting as "an unmistakable literary event" akin to the debut of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
June 25, 2006 |
PADRE PIO, the 20th century Roman Catholic priest and healer said to have manifested Christ's wounds, was asked whether his stigmata were a result of concentrating so intently on the Crucifixion. "Go out to the fields and look very closely at a bull," he answered. "Concentrate on him with all your might and see if you start to grow horns." Frankka, the 28-year-old heroine of Ariel Gore's beguiling first novel, "The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show," is no saint.
June 6, 1993 |
Reading Elizabeth McCracken's appealing and impressive first collection of stories, "Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry," is rather like spending a day in the company of a dear friend who just may or may not be a compulsive, habitual liar. As the visit progresses, her accounts become more elaborate, layered with subplots and details to strong-arm you into credence. By the end of the afternoon you are not only persuaded but conscious that you have been told something meaningful.