American Gods is one of my favorite novels by Neil Gaiman. So when I picked up Anansi Boys (a companion book of sorts), I expected something just as darkly epic. Of course, I was completely wrong. Anansi Boys is first and foremost a comedy, and boy is it a funny one. I ended up listening to the audiobook (narrated by Lenny Henry), and found myself breaking out into laughter dozens of times. Neil Gamain really knows how to write a witty novel, and Lenny Henry's timing is pitch perfect. He also does a fantastic job of crafting voices that are distinct from one another.
Beyond being a funny book, Anansi Boys also has a lot to say about families. It's inevitable that our parents embarrass us when we're young, but when your father happens to one of the most notorious trickster gods, that embarrassment can be particularly harsh. Fat Charlie's relationship with his brother (Spider) is also really interesting. Fat Charlie certainly isn't the first to be jealous at the ease in which their siblings seem to handle life so much better. Not only is Spider more attractive and confident than Charlie, he has “god powers” while poor Charlie is stuck in a job he doesn't like and in a passionless relationship with a well-meaning woman.
Admittedly, Anansi Boys is not as epic as American Gods, but it's not trying to be. Anansi Boys is a clever comedy filled with plenty of laughs and a handful of darker moments. I suspect that it's also much more accessible to readers than the complex American Gods. It's true that the characters are not as complex as those founds in American Gods, but they really don't need to be. I really enjoyed watching Fat Charlie grow and blossom as a character, and it's impossible not to be charmed by Spider. The villains are both deliciously evil, and it's quite easy to route for their downfall.
Anansi Boys is a fun novel that mixes fantasy and folklore with the mundane. If you're interested in checking it out, I would highly recommend checking out the audiobook version, as Lenny Henry does a fantastic job with the narration.
Rating: four and a half stars
Length: the print version is 416 pages
Source: Readfield Community Library
Other books I've read by this author: American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book
xposted to temporaryworlds , bookish , and goodreads
I'm behind on my reviews so expect my next review (Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong) tomorrow