Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Read by Lenny Henry For those who have read American Gods, Anansi Boys is set in the same world as where the gods of the old world live in America as ordinary people. But this book works just fine without having read the first one. Fat Charlie Nancy hadn’t spoken to his father, who loved humiliating him, in a decade. When flies to his childhood home in Florida from London for the funeral, he finds out that not only was his father Anansi, the ancient African spider god, but that he has a brother he has no memory of. On the spur of a drunken moment, Fat Charlie tells a spider to tell his brother to drop by. Spider, his brother, does. And starts carelessly pulling Fat Charlie’s life apart. At this point, I felt that the book might be veering towards Nanny Diaries land, with our protagonist getting further and further stomped on until he crawls out of the story to bleed to death. Happily, the story turns around as Fat Charlie declares war on his brother, and then takes yet another unexpected turn. There’s some good humor (penguin-shaped black candles for a séance, for example), some classic Gaiman creepy elder-god stuff, and some very sympathetic characters. If you have the option, do listen to this book. Lenny Henry does every character so believably it made my jaw drop, with accents ranging from Caribbean Island to African-American to several stripes of British. I might just have to see if he’s narrated any other books.


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