17 September 2006

Who's afraid of spiders?

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is a fun, quick page-turner which leads to some interesting reflections on sibling relations. Gaiman, as usual, contributes an unusual perspective and canny delivery on some imaginative topics. This book concerns the efforts of two sons of the Spider God Anansi, of African myth and legend, to assume their powers and get along with each other and the world. I loved especially the interactions between the main characters and the cadre of old, wise women who serve as his extended family - watch out for the funeral scene to set the tone for their interactions throughout the book. I laughed at loud at the description of Karaoke, which was considerably more fun to read than any karaoke I've been part of has been to experience. This book isn't quite as good as the author's earlier work American Gods. I am hopeful that having covered Norse and African mythologies, Gaiman has not exhausted his gods-and-legends inspiration and will continue to delight readers in the future with another effort - I wonder what he would do with some of the Native American stories, or perhaps Gilgamesh?


Anonymous said...

I've read this as well, and you are right. American Gods is a better book, though this one is much more interesting as a psychological profile, I've found. Then again, maybe it's because I find different sides of my personality to be so radically different. Unless the medication holds up.