Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Tale of a Trickster

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (pgs 336) is a book that I read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge. This book is my second foray into the world of Gaiman, and I am now certain I'm a HUGE fan!!

It begins, as most things begin, with a song. In the beginning, after all, were the words, and they came with a tune. That was how the world was made, how the void was divided, how the lands and the stars and the dreams and the little gods and the animals, how all of them came into the world. They were sung.

"Fat" Charlie Nancy was an unexciting man living in London in an unexciting flat, working at an unexciting job while planning an unexciting wedding with his fiance Rosie. And he was fine with that, until one day it all changed. Fat Charlie's father died in a horrible Karaoke incident, once again causing Charlie major humiliation. When he flew to Florida to the funeral, he once again met up with old neighbors and friends of the family. And Charlie found out a secret....his father wasn't just any of man. He was a God.....the human form of the trickster Anansi. And not only that.....but Charlie had a brother who inherited all the God "stuff" from good ol' Dad. All he had to do was whisper to a spider, and his brother would come. Now to Fat Charlie, this was all too much. He didn't really believe any of that nonsense. Of course, that didn't stop him from whispering to a spider one night in London after a few too many glasses of wine. From here, the quest to find out more about himself begins for Fat Charlie.


What I loved so much about this book is Gaiman's sense of humor. Where American Gods was more of a serious book, this one showed his sense of humor. This definitely falls in the folklore category of the Once Upon a Time Challenge. There were a lot of stories about Anansi, the Trickster. Since ALL stories are Anansi's! Gaiman wove a tale, like that of a spiderweb. All things are tied together somehow. And when Charlie opens the Pandora's box by whispering to a spider, it's really kind of a coming-of-age story. Gaiman sucks you in immediately and all you have to do is enjoy the ride!! 4.5/5

12 comments:

This Eclectic Life said...

I don't know. Stephanie I tried to read American Gods and it didn't grab me. "Anansi" would attract me, because I tell folk tales from Africa about Anansi the spider, but I'll check it out from the library before I'll buy it. You make it sound like it could be funny...

Matt said...

I also tried reading American Gods and put it down. But I've still put Anansi Boys on my list and plan on reading it soon. Thanks for the review. I want to like the book so we'll see how it goes.

Quixotic said...

American Gods is a favourite of mine, as are all Neil Gaiman's books, really. Anansi Boys is no exception - smart, funny and thoroughly enjoyable.

Glad you liked it! It is probably an easier book to get into than American Gods. American Gods is worth the effort though, in my opinion. I revisited it at the weekend, and will posting my thoughts as soon as I've gathered them successfully! *grin*

Nymeth said...

This is one of my all-time favourites. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Chris said...

So glad you liked it Stephanie. I loved Anansi Boys. Such a wonderful book, though American Gods still remains my favorite Gaiman. What's next? ;) I recommend Stardust!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Stephanie, Anansi Boys may have to be my first Neil Gaiman book, though American Gods has long been on my TBR list.

kookiejar said...

Even though my hubby is a huge fantasy/sci fi reader, I am the one who introduced him to Gaiman. Once he read 'American Gods' he was hooked and I bought a copy of 'Anansi Boys' for him for Christmas. Now I have to get around to reading it. ;)

BTW, I'm posting my response to your tagging me for the 'Something About Me' meme tomorrow.

Literary Feline said...

Ooo! You do make this one sound good. Of course, I planned to read it anyway, but still, it is nice to read a positive review about a book I hope to read one day. :-)

Bookfool said...

Stephanie,

I just tagged you for another meme, but it's a very short one.

Who else just reviewed this book? I've been blog-hopping too much. Great review. I've got a copy of Stardust, somewhere, and I can't seem to find it. I've got to do some digging.

kookiejar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhinoa said...

I am looking forward to getting around to this and I am glad you enjoyed it. I liked the quote at the top from the book about the world being sung, it's how Tolkien had Middle Earth created if you read The Silmarilion.

Framed said...

I chose Stardust over Anansi at the library today and now I read two great reviews about Anansi. Jeez. Of course, I noticed several reviews about Stardust on the Challenge page, but I'm waiting to read those after I read the book. But it looks like Anasi Boys is going on the TBR list.