Neil Gaiman is best known, according to the Daily Telegraph, for the Sandman series of graphic novels. This is my first Neil Gaiman book. It is an adult version of a Terry Pratchett book but not so funny.
When 'Fat' Charlie Nancy's dad dies he discovers that he is the son of the trickster God Anansi, the Spider. Then Charlie's brother Spider turns up. Within a day Spider has stolen Charlie's fiancee and enmeshed Charlie in a fraud. But Charlie's attempts to get rid of Spider have even worse consequences.
There are some delightfully funny parts of this book: the characters, especially the old ladies, are convincing and the situations are those classic comedy situations which are totally and utterly ridiculous but are less than a feather's breadth away from everyday embarrassing reality. Gaiman can write some classic prose (and some classically cliched prose) and there was one moment when I actually laughed aloud: Grahame was "ready, as the poet said, to risk it on a turn of pitch and toss. He had risked and he had won. He was the pitcher. He was the tosser." (Chapter 8).
Gaiman writes fluently audaciously mixing myth and reality. He is great at breathing life into stereotypical characters such as the evil but slimy theatrical agent and they icy mother-in-law. Although some of the plot elements are predictable (night out leads to hangover leads to problems at work) Gaiman's talent lies in blending the magical and the everyday, and so making myth and fantasy seem normal.
July 2009, 451 pages
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57