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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman

Read for the Once Upon a Time II Reading Challenge.

I’ve had Anansi Boys and American Gods on my to read list for quite some time (because someone had them buried in the basement and could never remember to grab them whenever he was in the area…). I’d always intended to read American Gods first, but the BF recommended Anansi Boys as the better of the two to start with, and I’ve actually had several other people tell me they liked it better.

I really enjoyed the story: Fat Charlie has read a fairly normal existence, until his father dies, and Charlie finds out that his father was actually the trickster god Anansi, and that Charlie has a brother he never knew about who has the powers of their father. Pretty much inevitably, things go downhill from there.

The characters in this book are great. Poor Fat Charlie makes a great journey from downtrodden regular guy to a man pretty comfortable with what turns out to be pretty interesting heritage. Charlie’s brother Spider is also a hoot. I even liked Grahame Coats, the story’s bad guy. He was definitely fun to read.

I think my favorite scene in the book was the last scene. There’s just something about a casual morning stroll with a mermaid, and that fact that it was a family tradition that made it special.


Carl V. said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. It is a really fun book. I'm not sure it can really be compared with American Gods in any fair sort of way because eventhough they share a couple of characters and are set in the same sort of universe, the two stories couldn't be more different. American Gods is a dark, gritty road novel/mystery/war of the gods sort of book whereas Anansi Boys was written partially as an homage to authors like P.G. Wodehouse. I think it all depends on one's likes. American Gods has a few scenes in it that could certainly put some readers off...much more sexually explicit and violent in nature...but those moments are brief compared to the whole of the novel. However the whole thing certainly has a different feel.

I would say I like American Gods better because it is a more detailed story but again I'm not sure I can even hold up one against the other in my own personal likes. I think each books succeeds marvelously in doing what it set out to do.

If you like Anansi Boys I would certainly suggest trying Neverwhere as well. It is written with a similar sometimes funny/sometimes dangerous tone. When you get around to reading American Gods I look forward to your review.

Megan said...

I'm definitely now interested to read American Gods so I can see the differences.

I've read Neverwhere (actually read it on vacation in Ireland, which is a happy memory), and really enjoyed it. I think that was the first Neil Gaiman I'd ever read (it was before I met my BF, who is a huge Gaiman fan. I was actually really excited to see Odd and the Frost Giants on your blog, because I was actually able to scoop him on a Gaiman book. I had so much fun giving that to him.)

Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I agree with Carl - this one is very different from American Gods...the tone and mood could not be more different. I look forward to seeing what you think of it when you read it.

Carl V. said...

After you read American Gods you must track down a copy of Fragile Things and read the novella, Monarch of the Glen, after that. It is a continuation of one of the character's stories and is very good.

Glad you were able to surprise him with Odd and the Frost Giants. Cool for you.

I'm glad you enjoyed Neverwhere. Stephanie just read it for the challenge and is as wild about it as I am:


Cath said...

I picked Anansi Boys up from the library today as quite a few people seem to be recommending it. I haven't actually read any of Gaiman's novels but can recommend his anthology, Smoke and Mirrors, and am halfway through Fragile Things and it's excellent.