Thursday, November 24, 2005

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman

Finally ! As promised, a review of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. There's far more comedy in Anansi Boys than in American Gods, and I found it far easier to identify with Fat Charlie Nancy, than I did with Shadow. I liked American Gods a great deal, but I think I prefer Anansi Boys... The story of Charlie Nancy's development from loser-doormat into a man of power and potential was fascinating. He learns early in the book that his father "Mr Nancy" is the spider-god Anansi. He doesn't believe this since he knows that he doesn't have any divine powers, but then he discovers that his brother Spider (whose existence he did not know about) got all the divine powers. The book opens with Charlie preparing to marry Rosie and arguing about whether he's going to invite his father, who has always embarrassed him throughout his life, to the wedding. Before this argument can cause a rift between Charlie and Rosie, however, Charlie discovers that his father has died (in what Charlie considers to be hugely embarassing circumstances). He sets off to Florida for the funeral and it is after the funeral that he discovers his father's divinity and his brother's existence. The tale then takes on a slightly surreal hue, and follows rather a lot of twists and turns before reaching its conclusion - which I found to be deeply satisfying...

I loved the fact that Neil and his publisher have included various "extras" with his book - a deleted scene which he felt would have slowed down the chapter had it been included, reproductions of various pages from his notebook in which he wrote Anansi Boys, an interview, and (sign of the times) discussion questions for a reading group !!

Even if you didn't enjoy American Gods (and perhaps especially if you didn't enjoy it), do read Anansi Boys because it's very entertaining and marvellously written, and it's probably my favourite of Gaiman's books (that I've read so far).

2 comments:

The Slating Review said...

I read the UK paperback edition of Anansi Boys which didn't have the extra scene and notebook extracts (now you got me curious) but an interview with Neil Gaiman. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, my favourite novel remains Neverwhere. You can find my main reasons in my review.

Michele said...

Well I recommend that you look out the hardback edition to check out the "extras" ! Thanks for the link to your review...