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#71 Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-10-29 21:37
Subject: #71 Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys
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Tags:books, reviews
Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Headline Review (8 May 2006)
ISBN-10: 0755305094
Category(ies): Fantasy

The other of the Neil Gaiman books I read recently, this one is perhaps closest to being a sequel, loosely linked as it is to American Gods. However, the link is minor and Gaiman really has written a stand-alone novel.

It's difficult to talk about this book without revealing some bits which feel like spoilers.

'Fat' Charlie Nancy is a fairly boring person. He's engaged to be married, some time in the future. He's working as an office worker in a theatrical agency in London, when he finds out that his father (who was separated from his mother when Charlie was ten or so) has died, back home in Florida. He flies out to Florida for the funeral, arriving a little late, and is then taken back by his ex-neighbours, old gossipy women who talk about the feckless father. One tells him he used to have a brother (Charlie doesn't remember him) and, even weirder, that his father was a God, an African Trickster God named Anansi.

Back in London later, the brother turns up. And this brother, for a staid, conventional man like Charlie, is both a revelation and a burden, for this brother is everything that Charlie is not - charming, witty, the life and soul of the party. And he's taken over Charlie's spare room, and there's a waterfall and a jungle and stuff in there, and it gets seriously weird.

Gaiman mixes mundane reality (office life) with myth in a way where the boundary isn't immediately obvious. Before the story resolves itself, both Charlie and his brother Spider must change, and there is both innocent betrayal and knowing sacrifice before it all works out. Charlie is the innocent fool - the Parsifal in a way - but this book is about him learning and coming into his power.

As I said last time, it's Neil Gaiman, and I don't think he cares to write anything which isn't superlatively good..
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glinda_w
User: glinda_w
Date: 2006-10-29 21:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
is he even *able* to write anything that isn't superlatively good?

(rhetorical questions 'r' me...)

and I need to start keeping track of what I'm reading, since I'm making use of the not-quite-in-my-walking-distance-but-almost local library branch...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-10-31 15:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I not only suspect he is able to write less that superlatively good stuff, but that he does so.

What makes him so good is that he knows when to throw away the sub-par stuff.
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