Book Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
As a sequel of sorts to American Gods and based on word of mouth that told me that this was very much unlike the much darker predecessor, I wasn’t sure what to expect, although, anything centred around Anansi promised to be charming.
The book started rather slowly with an intentionally boring character, Fat Charlie Nancy, who’s greatest stress was an embarrassing father, something many a teenager can sympathize with. Knowing what we know of his father, the trickster god Anansi – which Fat Charlie did not learn until his father’s death – made the dull circumstances of Charlie’s life oddly compelling as, at some point it was certain that things would change. Change came in the form of his brother, Spider, who was very much Charlie’s opposite and proceeded to take over Charlie’s life, literally, with everyone falling in love with Spider, including Charlie’s fiance.
From there, the story continued on a reasonably expected path, with Charlie growing increasingly upset with his brother’s infiltration, until suddenly, the mythology of the Anansi stories and the reality truly came crashing together in odd and unpredictable ways that resulted in a book that I’m adding to my favourites list, if only for the strange smile it left me with.
I’ve known Anansi stories, but some how, I won’t look at spiders the same way again. Charlie and Spider are fascinating characters and their twisted relationship with each other and with their father is frustrating and endearing at the same time.
I understand now why Neil Gaiman is a favourite among fans. His imagination is immense and enjoyable. His reimagining of mythologies is impressive. Special consideration for the accurate portrayal of delightful old Jamaican ladies!