Everything You Know About the Combatants
Anansi Boys
by Neil Gaiman
Random thoughts on this wonderful book:

  • I started it on Sunday morning, and finished it at 12:30 that night. Then, the next morning, I had no interest in reading any other book... I just sat on the bus and thought about Anansi Boys.
  • It deals with race in an interesting way.
  • It raises a very tricky problem with love and betrayal but, I think, deals with it very well indeed. I'm not 100% certain, but I think it makes good.
  • I find it very difficult to figure out how good Gaiman is as a writer. Clearly he is quite good. His editing is better (I noticed one typo in the book) than Storm Constantine, for example, and his descriptions are more varied and more interesting. His plot is not at all formulaic, and his characters are genuinely interesting and, mostly, pretty deep and real. Finally, his politics are great. Not only about race--he's one of the few authors I know that really doesn't hesitate to write an adventure story with action and derring-do that happens to be about a young girl, instead of a young boy.

    So all of that is nice, and I'll read (and purchase) everything he writes, but how does he compare to Tolstoy, to Hemmingway, or even to Eco? Is he great! or truly Great?
  • Finally, there were an awful lot of spiders in this book. Also, there are two illustrations of a spider (actually, the same illustration twice): once on the cover, under the jacket, and once on the final page. There is a scene where a multitude of spider jump out of a cake, and a scene where a character is attacked by an army of various spiders.

    Oddly enough, these scenes did not make me drop the book and flee. I'm not sure why--possibly it was the lack of description of the spiders?
  • Oh, and this would make a fantastic movie. Really fantastic. I don't think I'd be able to deal with the spider bits, though... maybe I could leave the room or something.
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