November 19, 2013
ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman, 2006
Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn't know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider's on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie's life more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous. (Amazon)
Review by Kim Harris Thacker: mommy, writer, and Bookshop Talk host
I'm a sucker for fables and for witty writing, so I have no idea why it took me so long to get my hands on a copy of ANANSI BOYS! This is an excellent modern fable in the tradition of the West African Anansi tales, which generally feature Anansi as a spider. In ANANSI BOYS, however, "Spider" is one of two brothers who are the children of the god Anansi (who wears a green fedora and is great at karaoke). The other brother is Fat Charlie, who isn't really fat at all, but who gets into a fat heap of trouble when he accidentally summons Spider (of whose existence he was previously unaware) to his home in London.
Spider wreaks havoc on Fat Charlie's life, but not because he's mean-spirited or, as Gaiman put it, "feckless, more that he had simply not been around they day they handed out feck" (LOVE the writing!). And so, using his godling powers, Spider convinces everyone--including Fat Charlie's fiancee--that he is Fat Charlie. But when Spider-as-Fat-Charlie accuses Fat Charlie's violent and cliche-happy boss of stealing from his own clients, Spider's presence becomes more than a bother to Fat Charlie--it becomes a threat to his very life. Fat Charlie's goose is cooked. He's up a creek. He's cruisin' for a bruisin'. He's--well, you get the idea. Good thing he has a bunch of old ladies who understand seances and the gods' ways to help him sort things out.
If you're fond of unforgettable characters, romance, and fast-paced (and slightly creepy) plots, you'll love ANANSI BOYS. But I warn you: You might find yourself feeling anxious any time you see a flock of birds headed in your direction...
Market: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Language: Some (mostly common British English curse words)
Sensuality: Some (nothing in great detail)
Mature Themes: Murder, family troubles, natural death, fraud, ghosts, revenge, torture...there are a lot of heavy themes, but I found the overall experience of the book to be a very positive one