Book Sorta-Review of: Anansi Boys, fiction by Neil Gaiman
While back, I wrote a review for a video game, saying I’m going to write more game review (… did I?). But I like books too, and now I’m reviewing a book. This inconsistency is actually a pretty accurate rendition of how my brain works.
Anyway, reviews. I know how to write a review. I’ve read a lot of reviews. Some of them, the good ones, give fair critic: pointing out flaws, criticizing some bad points in a work, and then point out where the good stuffs are. Then they say whether or not you should go and buy said work, adoring it with such sign as “Read/ play/watch this. Now.” or “You owe it to yourself to read/play/watch this,” or if and how you should avoid it like, excuse the cliche, the plague.
So you don’t have to tell me how to do this review thing. I know how it works. Point out the good, point out the bad, recommend or no.
But for Anansi Boys, a fiction novel by Neil Gaiman of a genre that he might as well invent on the spot – call it modern myth fantasy comedy hybrid. Call it Jazz-Blues Fusion, a story that takes itself seriously without taking itself seriously, a wacky relaxing ride that grips and crawl on you like a spider on your arm. – I only need three words.
I like it.
No wait, that’s not quite it.
I love it.
And really, you don’t need anything else. I’m not going to take the easy route that people do when they write book reviews: tell a short synopsis of what it’s about. No, you don’t care about that, and there’s a million other reviews to go to if you do. ‘Sides, I don’t care to spoil you anything about it. Just… here’s what I want to say:
Anansi Boys is a superb and fantastic. Not your usual tangle of fantasy – you won’t see no dragons here. Man-eating birds, maybe, but no dragons -, but something grander. Something that dares take the fantasy genre, and every story ever established here in this culture, and turn it into something grander. Well, maybe not grand, but I digress. Here’s this quote from a professional reviewer: “When you take the free-fall plunge into a Neil Gaiman book, anything can happen. And anything invariably does.”
And the writing. The writing. It’s very well-written, but more importantly, it’s funny, dammit. I find myself laughing out loud every now and then – stares, go away you -, and when I’m not, I find myself savouring every words, every paragraphs. People try to be witty with their writing. Gaiman ain’t just trying, he is witty, and it shows. Even when the story doesn’t ask for wit, he gives. And he keep giving. And it always fit. The overall theme, after all, is wit, tricks, and wisdom hidden in the silk of a spider’s web. What might be difficult and pompous to say in writing, the story gives with the cunning of the words.
And the characters, lovely and dislikeable in their own special way. Nobody is good and nobody is bad, but the story gives them as what they are, without annotating on their goodness or badness, without dictating alignment. I find myself even liking, not sympathizing, not feeling bad or satisfied for, the obviously bad guy, almost as much as I like the main cast. And my favourite, at last, fall at a posthumous character.
But I digress. Three words is what people should be looking for. I love it. Now I’m hoping for another three words:
You do too.
Obligatory closing lines: Read this. You owe it to yourself to read this book. If you’re the kind who reads a blog such as mine, or the kind who stumbles upon a blog like this, you should go to a bookstore, either made of bricks or a bunch of 1s and 0s or moon rocks, and find Anansi Boys. Buy it. Read it. And hey, maybe you just find a new favourite, like I do. If you don’t, no big deal. There’s bigger fishes in the sea, and there’s surely one of the right size and shape for one like you.