Anansi Boys Neil Gaiman

Default Smiles Gaiman is one of those authors where I read the majority of his works, say ‘yeah that was pretty good’, and then move on with things. Then there’s a couple of his works that make me shake people by the shirt and scream ‘WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THIS YET WHY AREN’T YOU READING IT THIS VERY INSTANT?’ in their faces like I’m possessed. Anansi Boys is in the screaming possession category.
Sassy Sharky There’s clearly no higher compliment.
Sassy Smiles Laugh if you want but you were excited to dress up for this one too! I can barely get you in suits for these review pictures and here you are in full body-paint.
Happy Sharky … well yeah. Getting decked up like an animal-human-god-spirit-thing isn’t something you get to do every day.
Default Smiles So now, imagine you’re a permanently unlucky, easily embarrassed man with a dead end job. Sorry about that. And it’s after a funeral. … yeah, sorry I didn’t tell you about that. Anyway. An old friend of the family drops a couple of bombshells on you. One, your dad’s a trickster god. Two, you have a brother you never knew about, and she tells you how to drop him a line if you want to talk to him. You do, in a moment of drunken emotion. Predictably it doesn’t go well. Well. It starts well. Then it devolves into madness and gets crazier and crazier until… well the end of the book.
Happy Sharky2 It barely starts well as it is. Then he decides to stay, and moves in his things. And by ‘things’ I mean he transforms your broom closet into a portal to the luxury dimension. Turns out sons of gods can do weird things with reality. Except you. Funny old world, isn’t it?
Happy Smiles It’s great. A brotherly argument, supported with reality warping powers and having to be countered with similar magic veers uncontrollably into blood feuds and blackmail and a lot of rage and oh my goodness.
Happy Sharky2 What Smiles is trying to say is there’s this incredible weaving together of a double coming-of-age-and-family-acceptance story, some crime-thriller, and proper old folktales. With a bit of romance thrown in. How it all stays balanced is completely beyond me, but it works.
Shocked Smiles The problem is that around the fifth chapter things start escalating SO fast that while I want to talk about so many things I really can’t without spoiling what’s going to happen. And I really don’t want to do that. Look, I made a list, I can’t talk about any of this.
Surprised Sharky 2 No wait, here’s one. This book’s got great turn of phrase. The descriptions are great, there’s a really memorable run-on paragraph about a hangover in there. The best atmosphere and descriptions by FAR in the whole book are when it comes to the animal-human-god-spirit-things.
smiles-intensifies THOSE ARE SO GOOD. Okay so let me explain. Since the main character’s dad is an old folktale trickster, there’s a point where we as readers get to see some of the other folktale spirits. Lion and Bird and Tiger and Crocodile and so on, and each of them just feels amazing. This is definitely the kind of imagery you can’t really capture in drawings or on film, these weird mutable humanimals that seem to keep shifting without the author ever saying they are. It’s only possible in your head, and in there it’s perfect.
Surprised Sharky A word of warning, there’s a section late on in the book with some body horror-
Sad Smiles That WILL make you squirm because ugh
Default Sharky So if that’s a problem just try to… skim over it as briefly as you can.
Sad Smiles 2 It’s a Gaiman thing. I’m sorry. Also a lot of the folktales end with one of the animals dying so yeahhhh.
Happy Sharky2 But let me tell you, after spending a whole book with the universe messing with Fat Charlie in every possible way (everyone calls him Fat Charlie and he’s not even fat), when he finally works out how to get things going his way, it’s the most satisfying thing. It’s the old argument I made about Charlie and Chocolate factory. The worse things are, the more satisfying it is where it starts looking up.
Default Smiles Wow Sharky. We’ve had almost a whole review and you haven’t ranted about anything.
Angry Sharky 3 If you’d let me finish
Surprised Smiles Whoops.
Angry Sharky 2 Anway. Here’s the thing. Once the story really gets going, it’s not that the slow in-between moments are bad, but unfortunately the good moments are so good by comparison that you just don’t want to spend any time on the in-between moments. There’s one particular point where the solution is RIGHT THERE but getting there is a slow and frustrating process for the main character and the reader. Which makes you empathise for him and all and yes it makes the whole result earned and satisfying but I hate frustration. And I automatically start hating the source of the frustration, even if they’ve been relatively blameless throughout the rest of the book.
Surprised Smiles This is a very specific rant.
Angry Sharky It’s an extremely specific rant. If I start grumbling when we come back to one of the plotlines and want everyone to stop being stubborn, mysterious idiots, that’s valid material for a rant. You will learn to be more annoyed at very, very old ladies than you ever knew possible.
Confused Smiles Sharky, as a person you have deeper levels of irritation than people know possible, your annoyance doesn’t always count.
Angry Sharky 3 It’s just a point, for people like me. Power through the frustration, it’ll be worth it. Feel free to skip it all during rereads. For people like you I’ve got nothing to say, they’ll enjoy everything.
Default Smiles HEY. … well. I’ll be honest, I’m biased because Iove folktales and fairytales. I love books that tread that line between having that surreal, dreamlike atmosphere of those old tales, but still being a great story with likeable characters that grabs you by the hand and yanks you over a cliff.
Happy Sharky2 Best and beyond of both worlds. Pratchet and Gaiman are the top tier in that category.
Happy Smiles They’re both great. Imagine them together! AND THAT’S WHY WE HAVE A TREAT FOR YOU COMING UP NEXT WEE-
Angry Sharky 4 Shut up.
Quiet Sharky
Default Sharky Remind me to never, ever tell you a secret.


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