NESFA Members' Reviews

Anansi Boys

by Neil Gaiman

William Morrow, 2005, ISBN 0-06-051518-X

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

Charlie Nancy's father ruined his life. And he goes on ruining it even in death—dropping dead on a karaoke stage in Florida, forcing Charlie to go home, leaving his London refuge from his embarrassing parent to attend the funeral—right before his wedding. And even in death, he keeps giving Charlie embarrassing gifts, like the handsome stranger who turns up on his doorstep, once he's back in London, claiming to be Charlie's brother, Spider. In short order, Charlie's life is reduced to utter havoc—he's fired from his job, arrested for embezzlement, his fiancée is spending an awful lot of time with Spider, and Charlie has to go back to Florida and take a journey through the spirit world if he's ever going to get control of his life again. Not to mention having to defeat Tiger and prevent all the stories in the world being turned into brutal, hopeless Tiger stories...

With Gaiman, as with Gene Wolfe and John Wright, it's not so much the story as how it's told—you go along for the ride and see where it takes you. Except for the marvelous command of the language, though, he's not really anything like them—his stories are much wilder and crazier, and even harder to predict. Partly this is because he's drawing on different mythologies—African and Native American, where Wolfe and Wright draw more on classical and northern European sources—but, mostly, I think that he's just a wilder and crazier guy.

Highly recommended.

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