Friday, October 14, 2005

Book 53: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

Anyone who has read this space for any period of time should be fully aware that Neil Gaiman is one of my four or five favorite authors working today. September was quite a month for him, as his new book was released and MirrorMask, the movie for which he wrote the screenplay, hit theaters all in the same week. While MirrorMask's numbers have been a little slight (sadly), his new novel Anansi Boys was number one on the New York Times best seller list - a first for Gaiman.

And the book is incredibly enjoyable, right in line with the great stuff he's written in the past. It's sort of a follow-up to his previous novel, American Gods, though it stands on its own with no trouble. It's set amidst the mythology of Anansi, the spider trickster god, which makes for plenty of laugh out loud moments and some high adventure as well. The characterization in the book is really sublime, with central character Fat Charlie being someone I'll remember and cherish for a long time to come. I particularly enjoyed the raucous, almost celebratory nature of the novel, and as always, look forward to what Gaiman does next.

Also, I should point out this terrific interview with Gaiman and Susanna Clarke, who wrote the outstanding Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. The two are great friends, with Gaiman being the person who helped Clarke's novel along to the publisher. It's a fun read about the fairy tales and mythologies of England, as well as an engaging look into the creative process.

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