As the founder of NaJuReMoNoMo I get to make the rules and they do not require any actual reporting on or about the book read. However, as a self-proclaimed Winner with three Oak Leaf Clusters, I fell a certain obligation to provide my bona fides. Here’s a little synopsis of the first of the four books I read in January.
Anansi Boys by Neil Giaman. This as a sequel to the Hugo Award winning American Gods. The oxymoronic phrase “instant classic” is thrown around a little too easily these days, but American Gods is definitely that. A weird, dark, rambling, and in places, intensely funny, look at mythology and human nature, American Gods is a book that makes you just sit and think for about a week after you finish it. Anansi Boys is less a true pick-up-the-pieces sequel and more of a little sidebar story. Much more humorous in tone than American Gods, and several hundred pages shorter, Anansi Boys is about the sad sack son of one of American Gods’s minor but intriguing diety characters.
Anansi is an African spider legend that serves as the seed kernel for a whole host of contemporary tales most people are totally unaware of. Everything from Song of the South to Bugs Bunny owes a debt to the tales of Anansi. In the book, Anansi’s son, Fat Charley, is lucky in the “bad luck is better than no luck at all” sense. He then finds out his dad has died under unusual circumstances and that he has a brother that he never knew about who seems to live a preternaturally charmed life.
Neil Gaiman uses obscure legends and fables to tell a tale that takes place in a magic realist modern London and Florida as well as in the dream world of forgotten myths. The laws of logic don’t really work here and that is part of the mystical charm.
Neil Gaiman is much better known for his comic book work like the Sandman series, but his written fiction carries a lot of that same blurry water-colored dark spirit. Anansi Boys is a slight book that is charming and doesn’t require any knowledge of the epic events of American Gods other than an awareness that forgotten gods still live and die. Pick it up, but be prepared to be both baffled and amused.