Neil Gaimen produces yet another excellent book. The blend of old tales and old gods into modern life was just as enjoyable as in American Gods. There is a rhythm to this story that is only improved on with Lenny Henry as the narrator. I am disappointed to not find any other books done by him because he is an excellent narrator--his general speaking voice is enjoyable to listen to and his characters really come to life. Beautiful written and beautifully done.
Contrary to what many people will tell you, I think Neil Gaiman is at his best in this fantastic spin-off of American Gods. This is possibly one of the few books I have enjoyed listening to even more than I've enjoyed reading it.
Fat Charlie didn't know that his late father was, in fact, the fabled trickster god, Anansi. Nor did he know that he had a brother who inherited all the "god stuff" leaving Charlie with what he doesn't realize is a marvelous singing voice.
It's only after reaching out to his new-found brother, Spider, that Fat Charlie realizes his mistake and that just about anything is thicker than water.
Anansi Boys is as much a story of two painfully different brothers who are forced together by curiosity and fate, as it is about the power of words and song over brute strength.
This is definitely a light-hearted read that nonetheless has something to teach us about family and, perhaps, about storytelling, itself. Like much of Gaiman's work, Anansi boys is an ode to the power of stories to connect, change, and ultimately heal people as much as they did when they were first told and sung about animal gods, back in the beginning of time, at the end of the world.
Such a story deserves an excellent narrator and Lenny Henry's performance is nothing short of perfection. This isn't surprising, considering that he was part of Neil Gaiman's inspiration for Spider. Lenny Henry's versatility and ability to capture even the smallest nuances of each character make him one of my favorite audiobook readers.
This audiobook has my highest recommendations!
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
After having just read American Gods and been totally submerged into a deep, dark ocean of bleakness, this book was like surfacing into a cool, clear pool of refreshing fun and frolic. Hard to believe anyone could have read the book better than Lenny Henry. It is not easy to impersonate various character voices in a book; it has to be even more difficult to convey their feelings and personalities. Few readers do even one of these well. Henry does both and seems to do so quite effortlessly. While a followup, Anansi Boys is not a sequel to American Gods. If you have not read Neil Gaiman this book along with Graveyard Story or Stardust might be a better place to start. Do not introduce yourself to NG with American Gods. While the latter could become your favorite NG, I doubt most would feel similarly.
This is my favorite of Gaiman's books, but what makes this recording truly exceptional is the narrator, Lenny Henry (Chef). His timing and tone capture the essence of characters in the book, from the whining Fat Charlie to the booming Mr. Anansi to the cluck-cluck-cluck of the elderly Carribean ladies. It is difficult to hit "pause" on this audiobook!
I read Anansi Boys after American Gods, and loved both of them. Anansi Boys is wise and funny, and the narrator does a great job.
I can't help thinking that "Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul" by Douglas Adams casts a shadow somewhere... I don't know where, but I kept remembering Clean White Sheets while I was listening and that has nothing to do with this story.
Anansi Boys lifted me up, made me think and entertained me.
American Gods is one of the best books I've heard on Audible, and I didn't expect Anansi Boys to live up to that. It's far less ambitious in scope, but that turns out to be a strength, not a weakness. Despite being about corporeal gods, Anansi Boys is a very human story about what it means to become a whole person. It's also very nice to see a story involving mythological characters _not_ drawn from the Norse, the Greek, or the Romans.
The narrator does an extraordinary job; I'll have to seek out more of his work as well, even if he isn't reading someone I'm familiar with.
Incidentally, it's not necessary to have read American Gods first. I recommend reading/listening to both, but if you're trying to decide between one or the other, the tight focus and deeper character development make Anansi Boys stronger of the two, and it stands just fine on its own.
Audible rawks! My taste is beyond eclectic and Audible always has plenty to choose from, no matter what mood I'm in!
If you know nothing of Mr. Gaiman previous works, listen to this one! If you loved the dialogue in his Sandman comics, this will bring back some fond memories! No extensive knowledge of pantheons or the supernatural is required. This is simply storytelling at its finest, bumped up to unheard of levels of aural bliss by possibly the best reader I've heard to date (this book should really say "Performed By" instead of "Read By", rather like the Harry Potter recordings). Every character comes to 3-D life through the perfectly merged talents of Msrs. Henry and Gaiman. The humour is deadly urban British wit by-way-of-the-West-Indies, with a few trips thru Florida, too. The scary bits are rendered even more jarring and cold-blooded thanks to the overall irreverent tone. Just remember: though Mr. Gaiman may have written the story and Mr. Henry may be telling the story, all stories are Anansi's. And when you finish listening to this tale, you'll want to ask the first spider you see to send Anansi your personal thanks!
Part of the fun of this book was the narrator's wide range of voices for the difference characters. The other was the mixing of reality and fantasy that Gaiman does very well. This is a stand-alone book. No need to have read any of his other books, though if they're all this good, it might be worth tracking them down!
Small warning: If you're easily grossed out, there's one passage near the climax that might be too much.
The narrator, Lenny Henry, is in fact a black Britisher of Jamaican parentage. He's an actor and stand-up comedian quite well known in Great Britain and does a brilliant job narrating this richly entertaining comic novel. According to IMDB.com, he's also a friend of Neil Gaiman.
Gaiman is an incredible writer and I've loved everything he's written. I didn't think he could get better than narrating his own books but Lenny Henry does an AMAZING job with this book. He does the accents perfectly, times the jokes just right, and conveys Gaiman's sense of myth and reality in a way that makes the audio version even more compelling than the print version.