Meet the family Binewski: Al, proprietor and emcee of the carnival, Binewski’s Fabulon; Lil, mother, former geek; Arturo, the Aqua Boy, a torso with flippers; Elly and Iphy, beautiful, piano-playing Siamese twins--two torsos with one waist; Olympia, barker and attendant to Arturo; and Chick, normal but for a quality so “freakish” that there is no act for him. These children, created by Al and Lil with the aid of various illicit substances, have been brought into the world as freaks, and are loved as such.
Through Olympia’s reminiscences, one watches the growth of the children and the carnival. Arturo becomes an authoritarian cult leader whose followers yearn for the opportunity to become like him. The twins, resistant to Arturo’s power, prostitute themselves to the highest bidders. Discovered by Arturo, who loves Iphy, they are “given” to an attendant of Arturo’s. This attendant happens to be the man who shot at the children in a shopping mall parking lot; Lil recognizes him and kills him. This and other episodes are recounted in detail as the story moves toward its climax.
At intervals the narrative is interrupted by Olympia’s “Notes For Now.” Olympia as an adult reads stories for a local radio station, observes her daughter, Miranda, from a distance, and takes care of Lil--a drooling, blind image of what she once was. Miranda, who believes herself an orphan with an unknown benefactress, is a tall, beautiful art student...
(The entire section is 411 words.)