Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

(hb; 2005: loosely linked to American Gods)


From the inside flap:

"When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck.  Like calling Fat Charlie 'Fat Charlie.'  Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing 'gifts' his father bestowed - before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.

"Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things.  Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew.  A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun. . . just like Dear Old Dad.  And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

"Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad.  He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god.  Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil.  Some said he could cheat even Death himself."


Review:

Anansi Boys is a good, entertaining (often in a laugh-out-loud way) urban fantasy with a light touch.  It probably helps that it has the feel of a Douglas Adams story and that Fat Charlie constantly made me think of Arthur Dent, the protagonist from Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  

Anansi is worth owning.  Check it out!

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A BBC miniseries version was recently announced.  I'll update this when I have more information.

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