in General, Reviews

Brief review: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

Product Image: Anansi Boys
My rating: 5 out of 5

I finished a ‘for fun’ book today! This is the first one in a while.

While no surprise to me, Gaiman has done it again. Anansi Boys is a sequel (but not really) to his last novel, American Gods. Its a sequel in the sense that it shares one character and some basic concepts, but the earlier book is barely even referenced – don’t worry if you haven’t read it.

Boys focuses on the two sons of Anansi, the ‘god’ of stories. ‘Fat Charlie’ is the son leading a perfectly normal, seemingly content life. Then Spider, the one who inherited Anansi’s reality-influencing powers, walks into his life and everything falls apart. Hilarity ensues!

And hilarity there is. I’m not used to seeing Gaiman write comedy, but he manages it quite capably here. Rarely is it laugh-out-loud funny, but I read most of the book with a grin on my face. It feels somehow more ‘British’, for lack of a better word, than any other style of humor. I’m reminded a bit of Douglas Adams.

One thing baffles me: Gaiman seems to refuse to describe his characters’ physical appearances. Fat Charlie is a blank slate here, as was Shadow in American Gods. I can only assume this is done on purpose, but can’t quite figure out why. But a minor quibble, really.

Anansi Boys is a great blend of comedy, fantasy, and solid characterization.

As a neat feature, Gaiman included a ‘deleted scene’ in the back of the e-book version, as well as a couple of other extras. Book as DVD?