Anansi Boys

Neil Gaiman
Anansi Boys Cover

Confusing but Passable


Gaiman takes the opportunity of Anansi Boys to do what he usually does: mash up a lot of mythologies and make confusing statements about the collective unconscious of mankind. The conceit in this story is that the African spider god Anansi has died, leaving two sons behind to sort out the mess. One is fully aware of his lineage and potential, while the other is a nearly worthless slob living a mundane life. Hilarity ensues.

The actual drama of the novel is not thrilling, nor particularly insightful or fascinating. An old enemy of Anansi resurfaces to take his revenge on the sons, while the sons travel through worlds of apparently Jungian origin. Every build up of tension is released with a confusing bit of magic and with questionable logic. It's too bad, really. Gaiman's characters are best when they are humans dealing with a fantastic world, not when they are fantasy creatures in a fantastic or semi-fantastic world.