Book Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Book Review: Anansi Boys by Neil GaimanAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Published by William Morrow on September 20th 2005
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Mythology
Pages: 336

One of fiction's most audaciously original talents, Neil Gaiman now gives us a mythology for a modern age -- complete with dark prophecy, family dysfunction, mystical deceptions, and killer birds. Not to mention a lime.
Anansi BoysGod is dead. Meet the kids.
When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times bestseller, American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny -- a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

Hi everyone! Marci here…and as many of you may or may not know I am a HUGE Neil Gaiman fan. I’ve pretty much read all of his more well-known novels, as well as some of his more obscure works. I plan on doing a whole series based on some of my favorite Gaiman books when I start re-reading them a little down the road. For some reason, I never read Anansi Boys until very recently. I owned the book, and actually tried starting it a few times, but just never quite settled into the story (usually because I was either reading another of Neil’s books on the side or re-reading one of his short stories…which are absolutely fantastic by the way).  When searching for a book to download to listen on my way into work and back home again I decided to try the audiobook version of Anansi Boys. I love that Neil Gaiman usually reads his own audio books. First because he is the author and knows how the tone and voice of the character should “sound” and be like, but also because he has an amazing voice (::sigh:: be still my heart). I am however glad that the reader for the Anansi Boys audio book was Lenny Henry who is a Brit of Caribbean descent, and his voice really made the characters come to life.

Anansi boys is about Fat Charlie Nancy, whose father turns out to be  a god, and who has a brother named Spider he has never met. Charlie’s life begins to turn upside down when his father dies suddenly while singing at a karaoke bar and he has to go back home for his funeral. The story goes into how he gets reunited with his brother and the chaos that ensues from being investigated for fraud, as well as going to ” the beginning of the world” to save his family. There are also some interesting little side stories with some of the minor characters in the book too. You get a good insight into African folklore gods, and an analysis of how stories are told and get passed on. The book is actually quite a fast “listen” and there are moments where it is very funny indeed.

I would recommend this book to those that have read American Gods (as it deals with gods and goddesses). I also recommend that you read other of Mr. Gaiman’s books before coming over to this one. It is not a typical Gaiman story, at least not fully, but you can sense him in it if you already know what a Gaiman story should “feel” like. I know some readers that did not like the book because it wasn’t “Gaiman-esque” enough for them, and some love it because it’s slightly different from what you have seen from Gaiman before. I’ll let you be the judge. As for myself, I really enjoyed it. I was taken to new places, learned new things and had quite a few good laughs throughout the book.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**