KJ (owlmoose) wrote,

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Spider man

Just finished reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. One of the best books I've read in awhile, and Gaiman's best since Neverwhere. (I really loved the first three-quarters or so of American Gods, but the end went off the rails a bit. But now I'm thinking I should re-read it.)

A good story, with good characters. Good women, especially: Daisy and Rosie and Maeve and the four old ladies and even Rosie's mother were all fascinating, and different, and complete characters. I'm wondering now whether the little old ladies in Florida were meant to come out of some specific mythology. I don't know my African mythology very well at all -- Ananzi is the only god from that pantheon I recognize offhand. Fat Charlie's evolution into a full person who stops denying his mystical heritage was really quite interesting and handled very well. And then we have Grahame Coates, who starts out looking like a characature but turns out to be an archetype, which I thought was a nice characterization twist. It's hard to create such a large cast and invest the reader in all of them, but Gaiman did so, and very well. The right balance of funny and thought-provoking and scary, too.

I've thought before that Gaiman is at his best when he's writing about stories and storytellers, and this just confirms it. Dream and Anansi (who is as much a god of stories as he is a trickster) are very different, but this book covers some of the same territory as the Sandman series, particularly regarding the power of stories to shape the world. Wholeheartedly recommended.
Tags: books

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