Sunday, January 8, 2012

2006 Locus Fantasy and BFS - ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman

Oh man, is this blog still going? If you're still out there, we're in the home stretch folks.

Anansi Boys was actually withdrawn from Hugo competition by the author.  Based on the nominations it received, it might have given Spin a run for its money, and Gaiman might have racked up another novel Hugo.  It's nice of him to share the wealth, and, considering that this is a much lighter read than American Gods (and that Gaiman had another novel Hugo coming before the end of the decade), it was probably for the best.

In fact, Anansi Boys almost feels like a discarded subplot from American Gods; it shares a character in Mr. Nancy, who is actually the African trickster spider-god Anansi.  At the beginning of the novel, Anansi dies, and his son, Londoner "Fat Charlie" Nancy goes to the funeral.  As a result, he meets his brother, the current incarnation of Spider, and (remember, this is a Neil Gaiman novel) gets drawn into a mythical world of gods and mischief.

Gaiman goes for a much lighter mood in this novel than many of his others (outside of Good Omens), and it almost had the feel of Tom Robbins or Douglas Adams...without the virtues of their best novels.  In fact, this novel was a little *too* lightly comic.  Tricksters walk a fine line between clever and annoying, and Spider ends up on the wrong side of the line quite a bit.  So, not my favorite Gaiman book, though still fun.

Grade: B-

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