Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: HarperCollins HarperTorch
Published: September 26th 2006
(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)
God is dead. Meet the kids.
Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother.
Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep — about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting… and a lot more dangerous.
This book was probably the most fun I’ve had while reading! Automatically went to my all-time favorite list. God, from start to end it was FUN. I loved the characters so much and the shenanigans they get into were so entertaining! It felt like watching a movie – a very good movie. I never wanted it to end. This was the first book by Gaiman I’ve read and let me just say I’ve grown addicted to his writing; easily one of the best writers out there. I’d describe his writing as purely mastered storytelling, like awe-inducing and magical. It brings about that feeling of being read to in bed as child, being so immersed in the story.
Anansi is a companion novel to American Gods, but serves as a stand-alone. It follows Fat Charlie (not his real name) after the sudden death of his father, Mr. Nancy. Following the death, Fat Charlie’s life is turned around. At first he learns that his father was in fact Anansi, the spider trickster god of West-African folkore. And then he learns that he has a younger brother, Spider, who has inherited Anansi’s magical abilities and mischievous tendencies. Without actually meaning to, Fat Charlie summons his brother and the two are soon getting themselves into a whole lot of trouble and into good ol’ intense sibling rivalry. Having been used to a peaceful life, Fat Charlie is driven out of his mind by his brother’s actions. Suddenly, his job, his fiance and his mundane existence are all compromised. We follow these two brothers as they get into a series of hilarious shenanigans that include gods, witches, vengeful birds, a psychopathic killer and a bit of romance.
Aside from the comical aspect, there’s a huge emphasis on family, brotherhood and self-acceptance. Not to mention the majority of the characters are black with the two main characters being of Caribbean descent. There is also a mixed-race side character (who might be my most favorite). I loved the two brothers and I enjoyed reading about the gods. It was thoroughly entertaining and incredibly unique. I’ve never read anything like this and probably never will. But that’s okay because I’ll be re-reading this one several times 😀
There has been some criticism surrounding Neil’s representation of race in this book, saying that he doesn’t blatantly state whether the main characters are black or not, but I believe he does infer it very adequately (just look at the title and the name of their birthplace). Aside from that, I’m pretty sure he did allude to the main character’s’ skin color. In fact, I think he did an awesome job in this aspect because he only stated white characters as “white” since they’re a minority in this book. His subtlety is a jibe at those who read and automatically assume the characters are white and writers who just state that a character is black or of other race, without backing it with heritage or background, just as a token of “diversity”.
What’s your favorite Gaiman book? Have you read Anansi Boys, what are your thoughts on it? What do you think of Neil Gaiman’s representation of race in this novel? Do you think it’s problematic or is it the opposite? Let me know down below! 😀