Anansi Boys Anansi Boys is the second Neil Gaiman book I’ve read this year. The other was the graphic novel Marvel 1602. Anansi Boys is what our Dr J calls a “word book”. The only pictures are on the jacket.
Anansi Boys is a mythic novel (I’d hate to say Sci-fi or fantasy and scare everyone away). The book is about two brothers and their relationship with each other and with their father – with a few out of the ordinary complications. Gaiman is a great story teller, and this is a very fun book. [more at the ‘more’ link] The story centers around the average-joe Fat Charlie. Fat Charlie isn’t really fat – it’s a nickname that his father gave him during a temporary chubby period. Fat Charlie feels that he has been humiliated through an assortment of transgressions by his father all his life. His father was such a burden that Charlie moved to England to provide as much distance between them in the English-speaking world as possible. Charlie toils in a mind-crushingly dull job that provides modest security and less than modest pay. About all Charlie has going for him is his engagement to his nice (and chaste) fianceé. Even this source of happiness is dimmed by the spectre of a future mother-in-law who hates him. When Fat Chalie’s fianceé convinces him to invite his estranged father to the upcoming wedding, he learns that his father has died. At the funeral, Charlie begins to learn the true nature of who his father was. His father was a source of annoyance, in part, because he was the African trickster god, Anansi. So that’s where things depart from the everyday. Later, Charlie inadvertently summons the brother he never knew he had, Spider. Spider seems to share some of the old man’s unique gifts. Hilarity ensues. In the two Gaiman books I have read, it appears that the author’s gift is re-imagining popular and ancient mythologies and having fun with the results. This book does not take itself too seriously, not should it. It seems to be written with knowing smiles and winks to the reader throughout, as if the author were saying – “come on, this will be fun”. If you stop to question the plausibility of some of the action along the way, the book may just have to leave you behind. Govern yourself accordingly. The book has been on the NYT bestsellers list for a few weeks, but here’s how Gaiman knows that he has finally arrived: In a commercial last night, I saw an Anansi Boys poster in the fictional bookstore that is the setting for the TV show Stacked (season premiere tonight). Check out the ad at the top of the Stacked web site. “More Fuller Radiant Lips” – that’s what it says – “More Fuller”. Nice.