I'm a stay-at-home mother of two. Despite the insanity of my life, I always find time to read...it is my outlet and my passion. I also love to cook and appreciate a good glass (or bottle) of wine. If you would like to contact me, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well over a year ago, I read Carrie's review of Anansi Boys, in which she rates the audio 5 out of 5 stars. I quickly ordered it from the library, loaded it on the iPod...and there is sat until now. I am so quickly inspired then uninspired, I remind myself of a fidgety four year old child.
But I have a time-tested theory. The longer a book or audio sits and ages in my presence, the better it is. This is the way karma works. I was more than pleasantly surprised at what had been waiting for me in this little gem.
Synopsis: Fat Charlie Nancy (who hasn't been fat since he was a child) is living peacefully in London, working as a bookkeeper for a lecherous toad, and engaged to the lovely Rosie. In planning his wedding, he begrudgingly tries to track down his no-good, drifter father who abandoned his family years ago, and finds that he has just died. He flies to Florida to attend the funeral, and is informed by three old women who were his father's friends (whom he refers to as "the post-menopausal mafia") that his father was in fact the trickster spider God, Anansi. He also learns that he has a brother who he never knew. Per the advice of the aged mafia, he summons his brother by telling a small spider. Seeking brotherly reconciliation, Charlie's brother, Spider, shows up on his doorstep. All all hell breaks loose.
It seems that Spider has some of his father's Godly blood. He befuddles Charlie's friends and co-workers, pretends to be Charlie, makes off with the fiance, and stirs up trouble with the boss. Charlie really just wants him to go away, and enters into a pact with another animal God to make it happen. Except that it was more like making a deal with the devil.
My thoughts: Everyone knows that Gaiman doesn't follow the rules when he is creating his stories and his worlds. This story is no different. It is full of belly-laugh humor, has a touch of magical realism and myth, a few fables, and a touching story of family. I will admit, it did get a little goofy towards the end, and I found myself rolling my eyes. You must cast aside all practicality if you are going to enjoy this one, but if you have read Gaiman, you already know this.
No offense to Gaiman, though, but the story was almost secondary for me. The real attraction, and the reason why you all need to LISTEN to this book, is to experience the narration. It was nothing short of brilliant. Which leads me to...
A few words about the audio production: Lenny Henry. Do you know this guy? Well. After experiencing his awesomeness, I had to do a little research. Lenny has been a stand-up comedian since 1975, has had television gigs, been in movies, blogs, and has even authored children's books. In his narration of Anansi Boys, he flaunts all of his mad skillz, with British, Caribbean and even smooth-talking LA street accents. He even sings (quite well). In the world of narrators that do respectable jobs but are generally unmemorable, this fellow is a shining star. It is what every audio should be. Mr. Henry, please do a few more of these if you could.