Monday, December 12, 2016

Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys
By Neil Gaiman
William Morrow, 2005. 336. Fantasy

In the beginning all the stories were about Tiger, the big cat. They were fierce stories about rending and tearing without mercy. But then Anansi, the spider, stole them from Tiger; then all the stories were about cleverness and trickery and Tiger always came off the worst. Anansi then moved to Florida, had a son named Fat Charlie, and proceeded to die of a heart attack while belting out karaoke. It was all rather embarrassing.

Fat Charlie had no idea until the funeral that his humiliating joke of a father was actually an ancient spider god. Nor did he have any inkling of the existence of his brother Spider—the one who inherited all the cosmic powers. But now Spider is in town and he’s eager to get to know Fat Charlie… and Fat Charlie’s fiancée. Especially Fat Charlie’s fiancée. Relations between the two brothers get rough, and all the while Tiger is lurking, looking for an opening to revenge himself on Anansi’s blood. It’s hardly fair, though. How can an ordinary man be expected to hold his own amidst legends and gods?

A kind-of sequel to American Gods, Anansi Boys is a typical sampling of Gaiman’s trademark magical realism. The mundane and the sublime are put side-by-side in a fascinating, sometimes humorous, juxtaposition. You definitely root for Fat Charlie as he is engulfed by a world not his own, and the deity figures are both mysterious and compelling. Though not my favorite Gaiman, Anansi Boys is definitely still a good read and I’d recommend it to fans of Gaiman or Terry Pratchett.


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