Monday, March 22, 2010

Anansi Boys

It was only a few months ago that I read my very first Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods. It was a great book, a large, sweeping epic-style novel about all the pagan gods of the world that Americans had brought with them when they immigrated from their countries of origin. Now, here I am, reading another Neil Gaiman book, Anansi Boys. It's set in the same world as that of American Gods, but it's a lot less epic in scale. Instead of trying to incorporate every god that ever was, Gaiman sticks with one smaller mythology, that of the Afro-Caribbean god, Anansi.

I really enjoyed Anansi Boys, and I think one of the main reasons why was because it wasn't so far-reaching as American Gods. Instead of trying to work in vignettes with this god, that god, and the other god, we were able to focus more on the main characters, learn about them, get to know them well, and follow a more linear plot from its inception to its conclusion. I cared so much more for Fat Charlie and Spider the main characters of Anansi Boys than I ever did for Shadow the main character of American Gods.

I listened to the audio version of this story, as read by Lenny Henry. Henry is a very good reader. The guy pulled of a serious number of different accents flawlessly. From the characters of the old ladies, who all hailed originally from the Caribbean; to Fat Charlie and his fiancee, who are stuffy and English; to Spider who is very American, he nailed every one of them. The book was a pleasure to the ears. One of my favorite accents to listen to is Caribbean. There's just something so beautiful about the way they speak in the islands. The book could have been a 300 page grocery list, and, as long as Henry read it in that accent, I'd have been happy. But, bonus for me, the book was really good.

If you haven't read it already, I'd encourage you to check it out. It's been my favorite Niel Gaiman novel yet. Sometime soon I'll get to Coraline, and then we'll see if Anansi Boys can defend its title.

Now, for me, up next is another novel by the author of one of my favorite short stories, "Ass-Hat Magic Spider." I will be reading Scott Westerfeld's YA novel So Yesterday.


  1. Neil Gaiman is BRILLIANT. Read Good Omens, as well... Lenny Henry had a weekly half-hour TV show in the UK - he played about 16 different characters, male & female, Jamaican, English, Nigerian... he's a brilliant impersonator. Glad you enjoyed the book, check out NG's short stories for more in that world. Also Charles de Lint, although you may have to physically read his!

  2. PHYSICALLY READ!??!! Wow, that might be asking a little much.

  3. I get through about 2 IRL books a day right now, as I'm unemployed. Audio books are good if I'm driving, but I can't just sit & listen - I either fall asleep or start thinking about something else & lose track of where I was...

  4. I'm the same way. I can listen to an audio book at home if I'm folding socks or something, but mostly I have to do it while in the car. I have an endless commute though, so I get through an audio book in a week or so usually.