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.
God 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."
Topics: Mythology, Magic, Brothers, Supernatural Powers, Gods & Goddesses, Race Relations, Adventurous, Funny, Magical Realism, England, Florida, Speculative Fiction, and Series
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Anansi Boys is a story of family, fable, and finding one's voice. Neil's own narrative voice is effortlessly captivating, as he weaves a tale as tight and multifaceted as a mischievous Spider's spindly web. His characters are full and loveable, his humor and sensibilities endearing, and his trademark spins of reality full of fun and hidden wisdom. Can't recommend this modern classic enough.more
I think it’s partially because Charlie reminds a little too much of Richard from Neverwhere at the beginning of this, as they’re both milquetoast characters who get thrown into the fantastical world. But while Richard just seems to accept everything that goes on in that book, Charlie does take charge of his situation and although he cocks up massively, Charlie does try to make things right. But for the beginning of the book, I’m not a fan of Charlie. I can relate to him and his boring life (and many of those Mitty-esque fantasies), but I don’t really warm up to him until he starts to man up. And aside from Mr. Nancy (because he’s one of my favorites from American Gods), the only character I really gelled to automatically was Daisy. She’s funny, I like her chemistry with Charlie and her natural desire to do right. Most every other character falls along the same lines of Charlie: okay, character, kind of bland and then starts getting better as the plot goes on. Although Maeve Livingstone is pretty awesome anytime that she shows up.
This could really be taken as the lighter and softer version of American Gods, as it touches on some of the same general themes (including one that’s a big massive spoiler). It’s more of a side story exploring the larger aspects of that universe, and I like that this is a more personal story than the American epic. And to people who think that Good Omens is only funny because of Terry Pratchett, read this to be proven wrong. Gaiman’s been funny, and this is hysterical while Gaiman retains his general style. The part where Spider is being attacked by murderous birds, but then you add murderous penguins and flamingos.
I do like this book a lot, but I really wouldn’t recommend to start with when going into Gaiman for the first time. It’s more accessible, but it’s not very representative of his work as a whole. I’d actually say start with American Gods and then moving on to this.
Maybe it's just me, but I find that weird.
So, I like that Gaiman lets suggestion and innuendo do the work for him. It gets the job done and doesn't weird me out. Call me a prude if you like; it wouldn't be the first time. At least not my first time. (See...like that.)
Even aside from the non-awkward sexual references, this was a good story and the writing was solid. The characters were complex and I loved the way Gaiman played with language, between the dialects and the excellent stoat references. I listened to part of this on audiobook while crocheting a scarf, and Lenny Henry's command of accents really enhanced the experience (until I started wondering why I was sitting with a ball of wool in my lap in unseasonably warm spring weather listening to a story set largely in tropical climates and I switched back to the large-print version that was all they had left at the library when I went to check out the book).
One idea I really liked was that people reflect the art around them.
"People take on the shapes of the songs and the stories that surround them, especially if they don't have their own."
Which is a good reason to avoid television, I think. That was kind of implied in the Grahame Coats character, with all of the cliches he uses and references to crime dramas and reality police shows. These were the stories that surrounded him and that shaped him. And I suppose you'll just have to read the book to see where that got him. I appreciate that Gaiman seems to lean towards writing the kind of story by which I don't mind being shaped.
Like I was saying, though, it was good, but it didn't capture my imagination the way American Gods did. It seemed a little too neat (neat in the "not messy" sense). And all of the transatlantic flights kind of wore on me. I don't enjoy flying, even in novels.more