Friday, August 04, 2006

Book Review: Anansi Boys

I've always enjoyed many of Gaiman's short stories, such as the ones collected in Smoke and Mirrors. His longer works, however, such as American Gods, left me cold. So it was a very pleasant surprise when Gaiman visited Google and read from the Anansi Boys that I found myself enjoying the reading. I wasn't in a hurry to read the book, though, since I had plenty of other books on my reading list, so I didn't get to it for a year or so.

The novel is about Fat Charlie Nancy, who was always embarrassed by his father growing up, since his father's idea of a prank on his kid was to tell the kid lies that made him do embarrassing things. When Fat Charlie's father dies, Charlie finds out from his neighbors that his father was a God of Spiders, and that he had a brother. One night, Charlie talks to a garden spider and asks him to pass a message to his brother.

Charlie's brother, Spider, who has inherited all of his father's godly powers, obligingly shows up and quickly proceeds to destroy Charlie's life in the way that only a Trickster's God can. What follows is a comedy that leads Charlie from one ridiculous situation to another, as he loses his job, his fiance, and eventually regains what should have been his birthright to begin with.

This is a light-hearted, entertaining read that was very much worth my time. Recommended.
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