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God my brother is a sod!


Stylish writing, exciting, imaginative ideas .

Takes an age to get going .  Disjointed reading .

Recommendable Yes:

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23 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
very helpful by (97%):
  1. Soho_Black
  2. elspeth334
  3. nursie_nursie
and 31 other members
helpful by (3%):
  1. loki23

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Fat Charlie's father has died. Charlie does not consider this a huge loss as they did not see eye to eye . However, his death sparks a revelation - Charlie has a brother who also happens to be a Demi-God. Unfortunately, his brother seems hell bent on stealing Charlie's fiancée, his life and his home. How can Charlie stop a God?

Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys is a jaunty outing with just the faintest tinge of horror about it. Gaiman's writing is fundamentally dark in its nature and he seems to love to take the "average Joe" and make horrendous things happen to him. Gaiman excels at creating pathetic but likeable heroes and Fat Charlie certainly fits the bill in this respect. The contrast between his apathetic approach to life and that of his exuberant brother, Spider, is fascinating. Anyone who has competed for affection with a sibling will empathise with Charlie's plight and, despite the often fantastical settings, will recognise the power struggle that occurs between them.

Gaiman writes with great style and is able to create imaginative, vivid and believable landscapes on which to base this tale of sibling rivalry. Unfortunately, his plotting and narrative lacks cohesion. This makes Anansi Boys a disjointed read that I sometimes found myself struggling to follow. Parts of this book are an exercise in perfectly written escapist literature. Gaiman's unique use of animal Gods is inspired in terms of imagery. You can visualise the scheming characters Gaiman creates and by giving the Gods a degree of desperate humanity you can well imagine the motives of the greedy Tiger and menacing Bird. Unfortunately, other parts are lacking character, flow or direction and you may find yourself wondering when something interesting is going to happen. This is particularly the case early on and very little seems to happen until midway through the book, when it finally explodes into life.

This is a novel Gaiman has obviously written for fun and this is evident in the humour throughout. Despite the dark atmosphere and morbid visuals this book often carries, many of the characters and situations are ridiculous to the point of hilarious. A middle aged vengeful widow who happens to be a ghost to name but one! His writing, while not up to the standard of "Good Omens", a collaboration with Terry Pratchett, is witty and full of pointed observations about British and American culture. In his preface, Gaiman hails Douglas Adams as one of his great inspirations when he writes and this novel certainly bares comparison with something he would write.

Perhaps, not the best example of Neil Gaiman's work, Anansi Boys is nonetheless an entertaining experience that benefits from Gaiman's imagination but suffers from a lack of tight plotting. Fans of Gaiman will enjoy the ideas, although maybe not the writing, and I would say borrow it before you buy it.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Headline Review (8 May 2006)
ISBN: 0755305094
Price: £3.99 on amazon
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Comments about this review »

Soho_Black 09.01.2007 10:51

I did enjoy this more than you did. I still feel that the lack of cohesion in the plot matches the lack of cohesion in Fat Charlie himself, so it works well.

nursie_nursie 04.01.2007 12:41

I don't think I will read it but a good review. Laura

Ailran 02.01.2007 01:17

its funny how highly rated he is but nothing he has ever done has interested me in the slightest so I cannot see myself reading this book going by your review of it :o)

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Fat Charlie Nancy is not having a good week. It all hit the proverbial fan when his rotter of an estranged father d...

Product details

Type Fiction
Genre Fantasy
Title Anansi Boys


Listed on Ciao since 12/02/2006

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Review Ratings »

This review of Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman has been rated:

"very helpful" by (97%):

  1. Soho_Black
  2. elspeth334
  3. nursie_nursie

and 31 other members

"helpful" by (3%):

  1. loki23

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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