Thursday, March 4, 2010

Anansi Boys

I really do regret that I did not get enough chances to finish Anansi Boys this week, because I was really starting to enjoy it. I found the idea of the novel, as well as the style of writing Neil Gaiman used to convey it, very cool. In fact, one of the only things I disliked about the novel was a majority of the characters. They each had flaws, as any character with even some depth should, but I seemed to find personal offense in every single one of these flaws and grew to hate the characters for them. While, to some extent, this is probably what Gaiman intended, I really had trouble at parts of the book, where I was forced to flip between Fat Charlie's insecurity, Spider's narcissism, and all the lesser characters' weaknesses. However, things finally started to turn around as I neared the end of the novel (which, of course, was when started running out of time to read).

When reading Anansi Boys this week, after having watched Gaiman's speech as well as discussed him in class, I found myself remembering something he had mentioned about his adult fiction, and how it was considerably lighter than his dark children's stories. I have read Gaiman's children's novel The Graveyard Book, which he described as having one of the darkest first chapters he had ever written, and I began comparing it to Anansi Boys and finding that he was completely right. Anansi Boys plays with myths as well as modern themes, and combines them in a generally lighthearted and goofy way. In this book, this could perhaps be a continued reflection of who I would consider the novel's central character, the joker Anansi and his many stories. Silly situations occurred that generally left Fat Charlie in unpleasant situations, and he faced them with a sort of dejected sarcasm that made it hard to read without at least a little humor present. Compared to The Graveyard Book, which managed to have a serious and dark feel to it while still definitely reading like a children's book, Anansi Boys seemed to be much more humorous. I'm not sure if that necessarily makes it better, but it's definitely different.

Nonetheless, I am completely into Anansi Boys now. I will try my best to finish this novel, because it is a good read, but mostly because I am right at the climax of it and want to know what happens!

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