Reviews for Anansi Boys
Kirkus Reviews 2005 July #2
The West African spider-trickster god Anansi presides benignly over this ebullient partial sequel to Gaiman's award-winning fantasy American Gods (2001).In his earthly incarnation as agelessly spry "Mr. Nancy," the god has died, been buried and mourned (in Florida), and has left (in England) an adult son called Fat Charlie-though he isn't fat; he is in fact a former "boy who was half a god . . . broken into two by an old woman with a grudge." His other "half" is Charlie's hitherto unknown brother Spider, summoned via animistic magic, thereafter an affable quasi-double and provocateur who steals Charlie's fiancé Rosie and stirs up trouble with Charlie's blackhearted boss, "weasel"-like entrepeneur-embezzler Grahame Coats. These characters and several other part-human, part-animal ones mesh in dizzying comic intrigues that occur on two continents, in a primitive "place at the end of the world," in dreams and on a conveniently remote, extradition-free Caribbean island. The key to Gaiman's ingenious plot is the tale of how Spider (Anansi) tricked Tiger, gaining possession of the world's vast web of stories and incurring the lasting wrath of a bloodthirsty mortal-perhaps immortal-enemy. Gaiman juggles several intersecting narratives expertly (though when speaking as omniscient narrator, he does tend to ramble), blithely echoing numerous creation myths and folklore motifs, Terry Southern's antic farces, Evelyn Waugh's comic contes cruel, and even-here and there-Muriel Spark's whimsical supernaturalism. Everything comes together smashingly, in an extended dénouement that pits both brothers against all Tiger's malevolent forms, resolves romantic complications satisfactorily and reasserts the power of stories and songs to represent, sustain and complete us. The result, though less dazzling than American Gods, is even more moving.Intermittently lumpy and self-indulgent, but enormously entertaining throughout. And the Gaiman faithful-as hungry for stories as Tiger himself-will devour it gratefully. Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 October #5
Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life is turned upside down when his father dies and a brother he never knew he had shows up at his doorstep. When that brother, Spider, starts to wear out his welcome, Fat Charlie learns that his father was not a man but the trickster god, Anansi, and both he and Spider have inherited some of Dad's godliness. This leads Fat Charlie to explore his own godly heritage in order to be rid of Spider. Listeners of Coraline can attest that Gaiman is a fine reader, so any narrators who read his novels have a lot to live up to. Lenny Henry, however, is absolutely the perfect choice to read Anansi Boys --he not only has Gaiman's cadences and style down pat, but he also ranges his accent from British to Caribbean with ease and provides distinct and memorable voices for all of the characters. An absolutely top-notch performance, one that makes a terrific book even better. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, July 18). (Sept.) [Page 51]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.