Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book 63: Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

This novel is loosely related to American Gods since it too is about gods, and mentions Anansi who may or may not be the same Anansi that appeared in the previous novel. It is, however much lighter and funnier. I like American Gods, it’s just this one definitely has a different flavor to it. Actually, in a way, it was almost a mix of Neverwhere and American Gods since it included the god part but the main character had more in common with Richard than with Shadow. Like Richard, Fat Charlie is portrayed as rather average, working a normal job with a girlfriend that just doesn’t seem quite right for him and then finds himself involved in a fantastical world he never would have imagined.

After his father Anansi dies, Charlie’s old neighbor tells him that his father was a god and that he has brother named Spider. After he returns to London, his brother decides to visit him. At first, Charlie is impressed with how cool his brother is, but after his life starts changing and his brother seduces Charlie’s fiancĂ©, Charlie desperately wants Spider back out of his life. At this point, Charlie involves other ancient gods, there are a few episodes in the novel that are reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Birds, and there’s also a plot involving embezzlement and murder, all of which collide together in St. Andrews.

While the plot is entertaining although at points kind of crazy, Gaiman has several passages that are simply hilarious. Charlie has an intense dislike of his future mother in law to be, and his thoughts when she unexpectedly drops by his apartment had me laughing out loud (fortunately I didn’t get any weird looks from the people with me):

Fat Charlie wondered what Rosie’s mother would usually hear in a
church. Probably just cries of “Back! Foul beast of Hell!” followed
by gasps of “Is it alive?” and a nervous inquiry as to whether anybody had remembered to bring the stakes and hammers. (96)

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