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I agree with many of the reviewers who praise this fun and inventive novel, but I am especially fascinated by how Gaiman represents race in Anansi Boys He chooses not to explicitly identify that his globe trotting main characters are black until at least p 32 if I m mistaken, somebody please let me know and only then as a point of fact that is secondary to their status as gods It is true that anyone who has read American Gods or heard traditional African folktales will have met Anansi before, but even here the story emphasizes the cultural distinctiveness of the Caribbean island where this Anansi lives without employing heavy racial signifiers This isn t the same as being race neutral whatever that means and the white characters are identified as such At first I thought it was odd, then really interesting and a thoughtful way to put Anansi and his fellow gods on equal footing with other cultural myths and legends Toni Morrison experiments with this in Recitatif and Paradise, but it is nice to see the technique employed in unexpected places The story is also influenced by Zora Neale Hurston s work, which is cool While I still like American Gods better, this is a great read It s also hilarious see one of the quotes I saved below.
(((Free Book))) ☠ Anansi Boys ☂ God Is Dead Meet The KidsFat 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 Interesting And A Lot Dangerous B 76% Good NotesLittle transition between its real world first half and its magical second half Its story gets all wishy washy at the end. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman blends the best attributes of Gaiman s extraordinary talent excellent writing, original storytelling, mythic elements, and confidence A central theme in the narrative is about confidence and that is also how Gaiman tells the tale, his writing exudes confidence, he writes with a virtuoso s swagger Not really taking off where American Gods left off, but neither does it depart from Gaiman s myth and legends foundations, Anansi Boys sings the song of Fat Charlie, Mr Nancy s somewhat estranged son and how he gets his groove back Someone should make a list of all the stories about trickster gods and I think that would make a great collection maybe even a story about all the trickster gods, like a convention Loki, Coyote, Anansi, etc Hey Neil Very entertaining. One of the few Gaiman books that I only gush mildly about, as opposed to gushing enthusiastically It s a solid book, and it does all the things that makes Gaiman s books great It s got humor, myth, gravitas, cleverness But it simply didn t impress me as much as Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, or Coriline I m willing to admit that the only reason I don t rank this book as 5 stars is because I m comparing it to his other books, which are profound and perfect That s probably unfair of me, but I never claimed to be completely fair. I ve come to recognize that one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much was that I listened to the audiobook, performed by comedian Lenny Henry, whose background as a Brit of Caribbean descent made him the perfect choice to bring the characters to life A lot of audiobooks aren t very good, but this one way great, and really brings out the fact that Anansi stories are meant to be heard.It s recognizable Gaiman stuff, with the fish out of water narrator in a modern fantasy world, with the author sxploring the history and the form of the mythic story, but there s a level of deprecating humor in this book that is lacking in other works by Gaiman.One can catch snips of wit in any of his books Any good book must include some humor an author might as futilely try to excise pain or desire from life as humor Gaiman has never placed any such artificial limits on his work indeed, the only limits on his books are those he, himself cannot overcome.Previously, his humor was only an occasional element, but there was apparently something in the writing of this particular book which finally allowed him to unleash his sense of the comic as a whole entity The text swims and bobs with the ridiculous, the unfortunate, and the clever.After reading Good Omens , written by Gaiman and Prachett, I was told that without Prachett, it would have retained none of the humor I now begin to wonder whether if Pratchett added anything at all Indeed, this work of Gaiman s overshadows that earlier work in both degrees and shades of the insightful and entertaining.With the focus on Anansi and stories, the book provides an amusing analysis of storytelling itself, so that anyone who studies the nature and classification of tales will find certain asides and references particularly amusing It is rare these days that an author will write a piece of fiction which explores on a subtextual level a concept or idea fundamental to the work itself I have come to wish that authors could gain the audacity that Gaiman found here.There is a degree to which this story matches Gaiman s usual monomythic progression from naive outsider to coy insider, which at the outset was my greatest difficulty with the work The inevitability and redundancy of this trope makes me wish for Gaiman s eccentric and perverse moments However, I found in the clever and skilled text a story worth experiencing, and one which matches or exceeds Gaiman s other attempts in the modern fantasy genre.The story is not as epic or dire as Gaiman s tend to be, and without that there is a loss of urgency in the story This is not really a deficiency, however, as the playful humor could not cohabitate comfortably with an ever steepening plot curve.The work fits into Gaiman s usual mode, exploring the myths and psychologies that most interest him It may lose some of his fans in that it is less dark and brooding, less hopeless, but this could hardly be counted a loss Any reader who wants of the same can re read his old works the rest of us may appreciate seeing a master storyteller exploring his form in a new and engaging way.My Fantasy Book Suggestions A Digression and a Review When I was a child who was much too prone to being serious for her own good, there was a catalpa tree in our backyard Now, if you don t know what a catalpa tree is, it s worth a Google Catalpas are beautiful and exotic, with giant leaves we used as plates to have fairy like meals of mulberry and honeysuckle with mimosa blossoms as a bit of garnish , giant bean pods that hung down like sylvan fingers ready to ensnare an unsuspecting child, white orchid like flowers that would shower down while we swung on the tire swing below In its boughs, I could pretend to be Pocahontas, a female Mowgli, or Jana of the Jungle I would climb up and look down to the ground so far below, filled with delicious terror at how impossibly high I was This tree seemed massive big enough to hold all of my dreams and wildest flights of fancy It, to paraphrase Zora Neale Hurston, seemed to hold dawn and doom in its branches As an adult, however, this tree that looms so gargantuan in my imaginary landscape seems small and shrunken, like a wizened grandparent, its limbs not so big, and I realize that, while I felt like I was climbing to the top of a skyscraper, I was barely 10 feet off the ground.I bring this up because this is the closest approximation I can make to the difference between reading as a child and reading as an adult As a child, there was a magic in stories, and I m not talking about pixie dust and wands although there was certainly some of that There was a magic in not knowing or caring where a story was going A magic to realizing why, hey, that main character is kind of like me A magic to finding that you could read the same story over and over and over again and it would never get old and would never be the same story twice, not really The colors were brighter The emotions were palpable There was nothing but possibility And, yes, there s certainly still magic in the stories I read as an adult, but it s never quite the same, is it I m a little jaded in that, as soon as I can predict where the story is going, I lose a little interest There s a little cynicism, a little impatience with an I ve been here before narrative, and a little sadness in knowing that I can never immerse myself in adult stories with the same abandon as that 10 year old reading under the catalpa tree Now, I bring this up to explain that this is why I love Neil Gaiman Gaiman can, so than any other author, create that childlike awe of story within the adult me without telling a children s story It s a peculiar and wonderful literary alchemy, this ability to take the adult world, the real world, and transform it into a place where one can find the same charm, humor, unpredictability, and enchantment found in the best children s narratives And Anansi Boys is such a book.A companion book to American Gods, Anansi Boys, follows the story of Fat Charlie, son of Mr Nancy, a rascal of a man with a wicked sense of humor, an eye for the ladies, and a knack for purposely embarrassing his introverted, sensitive son When Mr Nancy dies, the now grown up, soon to be married, and tenuously employed Fat Charlie is relieved that his father can never humiliate him again however he soon finds out that life is not going to settle into a mundane, predictable pattern for him He learns that his father was Anansi, the trickster spider god of African folklore, and he learns that he has a brother, Spider, who inherited his father s mischievous spirit and magical abilities It s not long before the reunion between the two brothers breaks out into a serious and frequently hilarious case of sibling rivalry, with Spider usurping Fat Charlie s apartment, girlfriend, and life, and Fat Charlie going to extreme lengths to rid himself of his demigod brother Anansi Boys lacks the darkness of American Gods and is a much whimsical, comedic read Initially, this did cause a bit of a disconnect for me until I gave in to the story without trying to connect it with or hold it up to my expectations of American Gods While following the adventures of Fat Charlie, I found myself laughing aloud and relishing each twist and turn in the story as well as looking forward to the humorous in which chapter titles Gaiman s love of story is evident and, as we learn through his depiction of Anansi folktales, the stories we tell and the stories we live are important not just for entertainment, but for creating the world as it should be And the world as it should be is something as close as possible to a catalpa tree as seen through the eyes of a child a place where anything and everything is possible, because that s where real magic resides Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder Fat Charlie his dad gave him the nickname it s a sore spot spent his entire life absolutely mortified by his dadOf course, everyone s parents are embarrassing It goes with the territory The nature of parents is to embarrass merely by existing, just as it is the nature of children of a certain age to cringe with embarrassment Then his dad does the unthinkable he had the nerve to die Now Fat Charlie has to go back to America for the first time in years and midway through the funeral he discovers something wholly unexpected and almost equally embarrassing his dad was a God Everybody going to be dead one day, just give them time. We follow Fat Charlie Anansi s son as he becomes immersed into the world of the Gods from discovering primitive magic to his secret brother His life is thrown into chaos his fiancee leaves him, his brother swoops her up and Fat Charlie is set up to take the fall for a very terrible person All the while, he has to deal with the fallout from his dad s embarrassing death.While this book takes place in the same world as American Gods there is hardly any overlap This could be read this one as a standalone I was disappointed that my favorite characters Shadow and the new gods don t make an appearance The plot progressed at a glacial pace but once it started ramping up, I was hooked there were so many side plots that were masterfully interwoven.I did enjoy that Fat Charlie had personality that Shadow from the first novel but I still preferred Shadow Much of the charm and magical realism from the first book didn t have as much of an impact as it did before perhaps because of the limited characters My absolute fave character Fat Charlie s fiance s mother she was such a bitter, shriveled prune I loved it The Finer Books Reading Challenge 2018 Reading Challenge A book that switches perspectivesBlog Instagram Twitter Well, this felt a bit like a spider getting drunk while reading a history of literary genres, and then spinning a thread and getting all tangled up in the different genres himself while trying to make sense of the pattern he created The web is a fable posing as a detective story posing as an embarrassing coming of age and heartbreak story mixed with fantasy and crime, put in a treasure chest and shipped off to the pirates of the Caribbean, where it decides to change shape and take a chapter s break in the realm of spooky ghost stories, before wrapping up as a social satire on the nature of love and happiness.To be fair, the author added the most accurate and funny description of a monstrous hangover I have ever read, and while letting the reader look like a question mark most of the time, he also makes several of the reader s days by creating laughing out loud moments of nonsensical, witty humour in the middle of a comedy which could have the subtitle the tragedy of the human condition Bowing to Sartre s existentialism, he also creates a mini hell of his preferred definition l enfer, c est les autres , and instead of eternally grilling humans in their frustrating interaction in the closed off hell cave, he lets a dark and mean and dumb as a brick brutal god go bonkers whenever a tiny ex human says something annoyingly irritating Killing it off is a meaningless feat, of course, as it plays the honorable part of Prometheus liver in this firework of storytelling Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each That is a wisdom I will cherish from now on, but even deeper layers of learning were reached in the important science of how to wear a demanding hat and how not to blame a lime for the pickle you re in Neil Gaiman is the god of storytellers which might well be a curse in his universe, as gods are constantly in trouble for having too much imagination and too little impulse control They re a perfect mirror of their creators, obviously.Wonderful, spidery, funny, beyond the realm of descriptive adjectives Previously Goodreads listed this book as Anansi Boys American Gods 2, this has since been fixed by Raven the ace GR librarian Anyway, Anansi Boys is not American Gods 2, the character Anansi does, however, appears in American Gods as Mr Nancy so the two books are related but there is no need to read one to follow the other Anansi Boys is about Anansi s two sons, the absence of an apostrophe S after Anansi s name notwithstanding The first one we are introduced to is Charles Nancy, usually called Fat Charlie in spite of not being fat The other is called Spider who is a god and can do magic When Spider enters Fat Charlie s life he promptly turns it upside down because that is the sort of guy he isHe would not have recognized guilt if he had an illustrated guide to it with all the component parts clearly labeled It was not that he was feckless, that he had simply not been around the day they handed out feck Basically, Spider moves into Charlie s apartment, steals his fianc , unintentionally gets him in trouble with the law and causing him to lose his job He does all this by impersonating Charlie without even bothering to look like him he is just amazingly persuasive Charlie s attempt to get rid of him backfires and exponentially exacerbates the situation It leads to a bird goddess sending massive flocks of multi species birds after them, and a tiger god coming after their blood for the alleged sins of their father.Anansi from the American Gods TV series Anansi Boys is a tremendously fun wild ride It is not as complex or nuanced as American Gods but, for my money, it is fun As always, Gaiman is overflowing with ideas and his prose tend to have a light, whimsical touch that often made me laugh out loud even He is a dab hand at characterization, the book s main antagonist Graham Coats is absatively particularly vivid and hilarious but also very dangerous Anansi himself is based on a popular West African folklore character, a fun loving trickster god who loves to steal other gods stories and make them his own hence Gaiman s theme of the power of storytelling, which he connects to the theme of storytelling through music I love the musical references in this book, after I read a certain chapter I suddenly had an irresistible urge to listen to Under The Boardwalk, which I have not heard for years, what a lovely, evocative song even though I ve never been under one The prose style of this book is generally lighthearted and humorous but Gaiman switches into a fable or folklore style when the narrative is told from a god s point of view Anansi Boys is not objectively better than American Gods, which is indeed great, but I personally enjoy it and it is my favorite Gaiman book.Notes Here Neil Gaiman explains that Anansi Boys is not a sequel to American Gods Thank you Raven for the link Besides being inspired by African Folklore Gaiman also seems to have been inspired by Terry Pratchett s witches books There are several comical witches in this book There was a radio play adaptation of Anansi Boys in 2005 which Gaiman hated as it was abridged into a one hour play This led him to write his own movie screenplay Hopefully there will be a movie one day Anansi Boys is not objectively better than American Gods, which is indeed great, but I personally enjoy it and it is my favorite Gaiman book.QuotesDaisy looked up at him with the kind of expression that Jesus might have given someone who had just explained that he was probably allergic to bread and fishes, so could He possibly do him a quick chicken salad there was pity in that expression, along with almost infinite compassion Some hats can only be worn if you re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you re only a step away from dancing They demand a lot of you He had arrived , at the age of ten , with an American accent , which he had been relentlessly teased about , and had worked very hard to lose , finally extirpating the last of the soft consonants and rich Rs while learning the correct use and placement of the word innit He had finally succeeded in losing his American accent for good as he had turned sixteen , just as his schoolfriends discovered that they needed very badly to sound like they came from the hood Of course , everyone s parents are embarrassing It goes with the territory The nature of parents is to embarrass merely by existing , just as it is the nature of children of a certain age to cringe with embarrassment , shame , and mortification should their parents so much as speak to them on the street Fat Charlie and Spider