Strangely reminiscent of Christopher Moore’s Blue Coyote, Neil Gayman’s Anansi Boys is a travel through the devious world of native myth.
“Fat” Charlie Nancy, named so by his father (when his father named someone, it tended to stick), isn’t fat at all and goes through life zombie-like: he has a job he hates, a fiancÃ©e he likes but is not sure he loves, a future mother-in-law who despises him, and a father who ruins his life when he dies in a Karaoke bar.
Upon the death of his father, Fat Charlie learns that good old dad was the spider god Anansi. He was a trouble-maker, a cheat, a practical-joker; he made enemies of all the other gods during his long stint as the “super” God. Fat Charlie learns he also has a brother, Spider, who has inherited his father’s powers and, through some weird magic, brings Spider to him. The problem is, his brother creates total chaos in Charlie’s life and doesn’t want to leave, so Fat Charlie embarks on a trip to the world of the lesser gods for a solution. Which makes things worse, of course.
Neil Gayman’s Anansi Boys makes you smile all the way, even when it tackles such deep questions as “Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?” His writing flows in a way that you see the story and not the words. Gayman makes you laugh, moves you, and makes you think. Through the relationships between father and sons, as ludicrous as the situations become, he makes us think of our own and how, in the end, family can be touched by the divine.