Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
That’s a rather short synopsis for a really thick book, isn’t it? Well, I will try to give my version of review based solely on my understanding, therefore it’s highly subjective. Everyone is entitled to hold their own opinion, and I’m sure I have one too. 🙂
My ratings: 5/5
Tips: Have you read any of Neil Gaiman’s book? The best way to read any of Gaiman’s work is to have no expectations. If you already have a set of pre-belief on the book right before you read it, you tend to hold back and would fail to absorb many striking points of the book. What you should do is to let loose, like a boat, let it drift wherever it wants to and have absolute confidence that it, no matter what, will drift you towards the right shore. That’s how I always tackle Neil Gaiman, and with no expectation, he manages to blow my mind every.single.time. Secondly, leave all the worldly logic out, at the shore before you step into the boat, with logic constantly bugging you, I assure that you will fail to enjoy the beauty of the book. Trust me.
There are many speculations saying that this is a sequel to American Gods. I on the other hand feels that it has a distinct connection to American Gods, it was staged in the same setting, but certainly disagree that this is a sequel to American Gods. Of course, if you have read A.G it’s much easier to comprehend Anansi Boys, otherwise just regard that this is a whole new journey.
This book started as plainly as it could, with a plain child who suffered the embarrassment of his father when he was young and was called Fat Charlie was all set to be married to a woman who he adore, whose mother he would love to hate. However he was disturbed by the news that his father is now dead as he sang karaoke to a beautiful girl. Embarrassed but encouraged by the fiancée, he flew to Florida to pay his final respects to his late father. There he learnt that he has a brother he never knew and his father was a God. When Spider (Fat Charlie’s brother) came by to meet him, his whole world has turned upside down, and Fat Charlie found himself tangled in the web of unfortunate events and circumstances.
I failed to notice few similarities of American Gods and Anansi Boys in the beginning. Only halfway into the book, I realized that Mr.Nancy has made an appearance in A.G, and was a prominent character. In A.G he was portrayed as black, and in Anansi Boys, never once or maybe I missed the point where Gaiman highlighted their race. End of the day I realized that it doesn’t matter after all. I was really attracted to Spider although he was the trouble maker of the book. He annoys the hell outta Fat Charlie, yet you can’t hep but to be attracted to him in which I believe that is totally the Anansi effect.If it’s not obvious already, I would like to clarify that I adored this book. Some claimed that this was written much better than A.G but I felt that A.G was slightly better mainly due to the short stories that were inserted in between.
Fantasy is out of boundaries and if you know Gaiman, you understand that his portrayal of fantasy isn’t the usual unicorns, elves, gnomes, goblins and such. He would pick the most plain setting and the magical patches and pieces are gradually woven into the setting. This is what happened in both Anansi Boys & A.G. Fantasy happens in the most surreal way at the most unexpected moments. I also believe that, the beauty of these stories aren’t in the stories alone, but it is tucked behind sentences that you find most irrational, irrelevant. It is also not about the ending either, as I said earlier, don’t steer your boat to any direction. It’ll, no matter what, will take you to the right shore.
This book is a balance between good and bad. A blend of yin & yang. It teaches you to see the bad in between good, and to identify good in between bad. Also, to find strength in the dark and to have faith in nobody but yourself. Let me conclude this post with a scene that amused me the most from the book,
“You aren’t scared of limes, are you?” asked Charlie.
The creature laughed, scornfully. “I,” it said, “am frightened of nothing.”
“Nothing,” it said.
Charlie said, “Are you extremely frightened of nothing?”
“Absolutely terrified of it,” admitted the Dragon.
“You know,” said Charlie, “I have nothing in my pockets. Would you like to see it?”
“No,” said the Dragon uncomfortably, “I most definitely would not.” – Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys