Book review – Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

I’ve done some traveling the last two weeks and so I spun the disks of the Anansi Boys audiobook to help while away the lonely miles.

In short, I really enjoyed this book. At the outset it seemed kind of directionless and random, plotwise but then the threads started weaving together as it went, much like the supporting strands of a spiderweb all coming together at the center.

Neil is very funny. I remember in American Gods the description of Wednesday smiling like the fox caught eating a turd through barbed wire, or something like that. I had to stop reading and just laugh. In my writer’s group things like that would probably earn a , “this kicked me out of the story” from at least one person, and it does, but it is so pleasing I don’t mind. In Anansi boys there are many funny similes explaining the tone of voice someone used. My personal favorite, and the one that had me jabbing the pause button on my car’s cd player so I could laugh by myself at 74 miles per hour went something like, “…she said in the way that most people reserve for saying things like, ‘do you want to die quickly or should I let Mongo have his fun.'”

Lenny Henry does an amazing job voicing the characters. Usually when a guy is doing an audiobook any time a female has lines it gets unintentionally hilarious. Not only did Lenny do a very natural female voice, there is one scene where he has to voice three old ladies from St. Andrew and he nails the accent and the frail voice for each of them so that you can tell who is talking even without the dialog tags. Before you say meh, try doing one old female Caribbean yourself. Now have her talking to another. Now throw a third in. When you’re done giggling at yourself for sounding like yoda doing Ghandi doing Sean Connery you are allowed to be very impressed.

Most of the book just kind of went along for me, with a few moments of pleasure at the turns of phrase. The two scenes that really made me smile happened 1 in Fat Charlie’s apartment after he has been carousing with Spider and his Mother-in-Law to be drops by before Spider’s date for the night can leave, and the scene with the cop in the Hotel Restaurant.

It is a light page turner that has moments of pure joy and comes to a satisfying conclusion.

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