Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman

Summary: Fat Charlie is mostly relieved when he learns his perpetually embarrassing father has died.  But, home in the States for the funeral, he also learns about a mysterious brother he never knew he had.  When, in a drunken moment, he seeks out his brother, Spider soon appears.  Although Charlie learns he and Spider are both sons of the trickster god Anansi, Spider is cooler and more confident than Charlie has ever been, and Spider soon starts to ruin Charlie's life.

Musings: I always enjoy Gaiman's work, even if Anansi Boys wasn't especially memorable for me.  It has a lot of elements that I've liked in Gaiman's writing before: spurts of the absurd, the interweaving of reality and myth, random subplots expertly woven together, and a goodhearted optimism throughout.  The characters are richly drawn, as is the contrast between the submissive and insecure Charlie and the popular and self-assured Spider.

My favorite parts were in Spider's first arrival in Charlie's life, as Spider gets Charlie embroiled in a scandal at work and easily steals Charlie's fiance.  I also enjoyed the ending, where the good characters gain confidence in spectacular fashion.

I was reminded of Luka and the Fire of Life as I read, though like in that novel, I felt somewhat distanced from the characters and events.  Nonetheless, it was still a fun and lighthearted read.


  1. This was one of my 'middling favorite' Gaiman reads. I too liked the character development and humor. Glad you enjoyed it, even if it didn't change the world!

  2. Yeah, I keep trying to decide whether I like it more or less than American Gods, which I felt rather in the middle about too. Not unenjoyable, though!