Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys was written by Neil Gaiman and is the sixth book I’ve completed of his. Anansi Boys is often called the “sequel” to Gaiman’s American Gods. It really is only a sequel in that it is a story about gods in America. Otherwise, it’s really very different. It is also a wonderful story of family, friendship, love, and finding yourself.

“Each person who ever was or is or will be has a song. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their song instead.”

Charlie has never gotten along with his father and has always been embarrassed by him. He is engaged to Rosie, and they are content if complacent about spending their lives together. Charlie moved to London many years ago with his mother when his parents divorced, and has since tried to shed every aspect that made him like his father. Charlie’s father passes away, and he returns to Florida for the service, and learns that he has a brother who he does not remember meeting.

“It is a small world. You do not have to live in it particularly long to learn that for yourself. There is a theory that, in the whole world, there are only five hundred real people (the cast, as it were; all the rest of the people in the world, the theory suggests, are extras) and what is more, they all know each other. And it’s true, or true as far as it goes. In reality the world is made of thousands upon thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom will spend their lives bumping into each other, trying to avoid each other, and discovering each other in the same unlikely teashop in Vancouver. There is an unavoidability to this process. It’s not even coincidence. It’s just the way the world works, with no regard for individuals or for propriety.”

Charlie tries to get in touch with his brother, and his brother, Spider, comes to visit him in London. What should be a lovely story of two brothers being reunited becomes something totally different when Spider begins to take over every aspect of Charlie’s life, including his relationship with Rosie.

This story made me laugh, cry, and feel very frustrated and angry at times. At some points, I didn’t like any of the characters and at other times I liked all of them.

“They were kissing. Put like that, and you could be forgiven for presuming that this was a normal kiss, all lips and skin and possibly even a little tongue. You’d miss how he smiled, how his eyes glowed. And then, after the kiss was done, how he stood, like a man who had just discovered the art of standing and had figured out how to do it better than anyone else who would ever come along.”

Anansi Boys is so different from American Gods that I don’t like to compare the two, but if I had to choose a favorite, I would say that I enjoyed American Gods more. Then again, it was a much longer book so I think I became much more involved with the story than I did with Anansi Boys.

I would definitely recommend both of these novels to anyone looking for a story with a bit of fantasy and mythology. I would suggest reading American Gods first, and then Anansi Boys.

Anyone read either of these books? What did you think?

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