Review written by JD – the husband
Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
Pages 384; paperback
Oh dear. This seems to be a book that loads of people love, and the cover and opening pages are full of glowing reviews. I must say that I do like it; I’m just not crazy about it. I certainly see all the qualities that others refer to and I enjoyed reading it, but it just wasn’t one of those “wow” books for me. And that probably says more about me than it does about the book. If I had to use just one word to describe the book, it would be whimsical, and that’s not really my thing.
What’s it about? A guy’s estranged old father dies, while karaoke singing no less, and through some old and odd acquaintances he gets to find out that his dad was actually a god, and a very mischievous god at that. With the “help” of those add acquaintances he also founds out for the first time that he has a brother, who mysteriously shows up on his doorstep. After that, his whole world gets turned upside down and inside out, and he embarks on an odyssey to try and return things to some form of normality.
There are lots of things to enjoy about the book. It’s a clever and very cute story, intertwining fantasy with everyday life. It’s full of humor and laced with a few dashes of scary stuff. The characters range from the engaging to the awful; actually some are both. He has a very engaging writing style and it’s an entertaining read. I blew through it quickly, often finding myself smiling as I did so. And it does have the best description of a hangover that I have ever read!
Still, for me personally it’s a three–star book, though I certainly see why many rate it more highly.
P.S. I have to mention the most amazing coincidence. Just two weeks ago I finished reading The Terror by Dan Simmons, which is a very different type of book. Something truly awful and extremely unusual happens to the lead character in The Terror, and I’ll be darned if the same thing didn’t also happen to one of the lead characters in the Anansi Boys. I can’t say anything more without spoiling it, but this was one those weird one-in-a-million coincidences that just blow you away. This will form the basis for a great question in a book quiz one day. ;)
Amazon purchasing information is linked below – US/UK/Canada respectivelyAnansi Boys/ Anansi Boys/ Anansi Boys