Monday, August 22, 2011

Anansi Boys

Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Delightfully Entertaining Modern Mythology

Nearly forgotten in today’s modern world, the old gods live on. They exist in those shadowy and obscure places far from the limelight, and their power has waned, but they live on. In Anansi Boys, Fat Charlie Nancy discovers this fact much to his surprise and discomfort. The circumstances of Fat Charlie’s ordered life shift drastically and humorously as author Neil Gaiman leads us through a wild and wacky tale that teeters on the brink of what is real and what is not of this world.

Fat Charlie is not at all fat, yet he cannot rid himself of the unflattering nickname his father bestowed on him. He has done all he can humanly do to distance himself from his father, an eccentric and embarrassing old man, including a move to England to put an ocean between them. Fat Charlie hasn’t spoken to his father in years, but Rosie, his fiancée, pressures Fat Charlie into inviting the much senior Nancy to their fast-approaching wedding. In his conversation with an old neighbor, Mrs. Higgler, Fat Charlie learns his father has died suddenly and unexpectedly—not to mention embarrassingly—on a karaoke stage. Fat Charlie returns to Florida to pay his last respects and bury his father, although he hadn’t planned on doing quite that much shoveling. While in Florida, Fat Charlie learns the utterly unbelievable truth about his father. And the truth is that old Mr. Nancy was none other than Anansi the Trickster, a god from the beginnings of time itself. As if that news were not enough, Fat Charlie also learns that he is not, as he had always believed, his father’s only son.

It is only after he returns to England that Fat Charlie meets this brother, Spider, and the pleasantly drab life Fat Charlie had so carefully woven begins to unravel in an series of bizarre events that defy explanation using any known natural laws of the universe. At the forefront of all of Fat Charlie’s difficulties is his carefree brother, who appears to be a magnet for mischief and mayhem. The author points to two critical forces that drive the events in Fat Charlie’s life. First, "Human beings do not like being pushed about by gods. They may seem to, on the surface, but somewhere on the inside, underneath it all, they sense it, and they resent it." And, second, there is an ancient rivalry between Anansi and Tiger—-a bitter enmity between elder gods that now centers on Fat Charlie.

Anansi Boys, Gaiman’s side-splitting sequel to American Gods, is a tale to be treasured for the author’s keen wit, stinging irony, and inimitable blend of dark and whimsical humor. But be very cautious; once you’ve read Anansi Boys, you’ll be tempted to read it again…just to be sure Anansi, the trickster god, hasn’t changed the story since you closed the cover.

Neil Gaiman's website may be found at

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews

tHP's Visitors

Locations of Site Visitors