Books

Review: Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. The story contains so many irreverent comments that aptly describe certain situations or things. Like the following about hats:
“Some hats can only be worn if you’re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you’re only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.”

This is just so true. There’s also a passage that explains a theory about how small the world is that had me pausing to consider it. But more than that, the story feels organic. At times, the tale being related about Fat Charlie (and that of Rosie, Daisy, and even Spider) at times feels much like one of Anasi’s own stories that used to belong to Tiger, in much the same way that Patricia Briggs’ River Marked feels much like one of the old Native American tales about Coyote. Its an impressive trick that sneaks up on you as your read.

Interesting to note, Anansi Boys also briefly mentions the different kinds of silence and the power of names and words to give life. Clearly, these brief asides thrown in were enough to give me pause and remind me of Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind. It also makes you stop to consider the importance of the message and theory. And that’s what Anansi Boys did most for me, it made me think about the world and certain aspects of it in a new light. Its an enjoyable tale that at times can seem to be muddled, but getting lost in that muddle slows you down to consider important aspects. And I’ll leave you with this short passage to consider regarding the size of the world…

“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 whit is more, they all know each other. And it’s true, or true as far as it goes. In reality the world is made up of thousands upon thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom will spend their lives bumping into 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 propriety.”

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