Sunday, July 17, 2005

Anansi in PW, and Manila links

A couple of starred reviews in from the publishing press, for the book trade.

from Publishers Weekly July 18, 2005.

Anansi Boys

NEIL GAIMAN. MORROW $26.95 (368p)

If readers found the Sandman series creator�s last novel, AMERICAN GODS, hard to classify, they will be equally non-plussed � and equally entertained � by this brilliant mingling of the mundane and the fantastic. �Fat Charlie� Nancy leads a life of comfortable workaholism in London, with a stressful agenting job he doesn�t much like, and a pleasant fianc�e, Rosie. When Charlie learns of the death of his estranged father in Florida, he attends the funeral and learns two facts that turn his well-ordered existence upside-down: that his father was a human form of Anansi, the African trickster god, and that he has a brother, Spider, who has inherited some of their father�s godlike abilities. Spider comes to visit Charlie and gets him fired from his job, steals his fianc�e, and is instrumental in having him arrested for embezzlement and suspected of murder. When Charlie resorts to magic to get rid of Spider, who�s selfish and unthinking rather than evil, things begin to go very badly for just about everyone. Other characters � including Charlie�s malevolent boss, Grahame Coats ("an albino ferret in an expensive suit") witches, police and some of the folk from AMERICAN GODS � are expertly woven into Gaiman�s rich myth, which plays off the African folk tales in which Anansi stars. But it�s Gaiman�s focus on Charlie and Charlie�s attempts to return to normalcy that make the story so winning � along with gleeful, hurtling prose.

and this is from Kirkus, but it's filled with spoilers, so I've edited it down a bit to kill things that really are things you're meant to find out by reading the book:

Author: Gaiman, Neil

Review Date: JULY 12, 2005
Pages: 368
Price (hardback): $26.95
Publication Date: 9/20/05
ISBN: 0-06-051518-X
ISBN (hardback): 0-06-051518-X
Category: NONE
Classification: FEATURE

The West African spider-trickster god Anansi presides benignly over this ebullient partial sequel to Gaiman's award-winning fantasy American Gods (2001).

In his earthly incarnation as agelessly spry "Mr. Nancy," the god has died, been buried and mourned (in Florida), and has left (in England) an adult son called Fat Charlie�though he isn't fat;... Charlie's hitherto unknown brother Spider, summoned via animistic magic, thereafter an affable quasi-double and provocateur who steals Charlie's fianc� Rosie and stirs up trouble with Charlie's blackhearted boss, "weasel"-like entrepeneur-embezzler Grahame Coats. These characters and several other part-human, part-animal ones mesh in dizzying comic intrigues that occur on two continents, in a primitive "place at the end of the world," in dreams and on a conveniently remote, extradition-free Caribbean island. ... Gaiman juggles several intersecting narratives expertly (though when speaking as omniscient narrator, he does tend to ramble), blithely echoing numerous creation myths and folklore motifs, Terry Southern's antic farces, Evelyn Waugh's comic contes cruel, and even�here and there�Muriel Spark's whimsical supernaturalism. Everything comes together smashingly, in an extended d�nouement that ...reasserts the power of stories and songs to represent, sustain and complete us. The result, though less dazzling than American Gods, is even more moving.

Intermittently lumpy and self-indulgent, but enormously entertaining throughout. And the Gaiman faithful�as hungry for stories as Tiger himself�will devour it gratefully.

(The unedited version is here.)

(People who ask me why I don't pay more attention to reviews are suggested to ponder how the prose can both hurtle and ramble at the same time.) Anyway, both reviewers love the book, and that makes me happy.

Survived convention. It was great but I'm too pooped to write about it. Morning spent doing interviews, and was enormously relieved to discover that I'm not addressing the Australian Film Institute for lunch, and will instead just have a small lunch with friends.

Neil someone has collected allt eh blog and livehjournal of when you come to Manila, if you want to see, it is at and he is right the best pictures of you are at Erwin's interview of you is at

Thanks so much. I'm not sure if I'll get time to go through them at this point, but I'll put them up for the world.