Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys Analysis

Gaiman's novel Anansi Boys is an intriguing whirlwind glimpse into the spirit realm of the east. From reincarnated animal deity to stories holding divine influence on reality the books features some bizarre turns. The protagonist, Fat Charlie, is caught up in a series of conflicts with people and animals whom he meets after the death of his father. Each character has a role to play in his current affairs, each of whom he must defeat in some way almost in order to maintain his own sanity.

Charlie is not a confident man. In his romantic relationship, work sphere, and within his own mind, he remains impressionable. When his long-lost brother Spider enters the scene, Charlie is forced to take a stand on a lot of issues which he previously would have avoided altogether. He learns a great deal of life lessons by fighting with and against his brother. Spider isn't the only agent of conflict, either. Since apparently Anansi was a reincarnated spirit god, he left behind a slew of competitor deities who bother Charlie. Tiger, Dragon, Bird Woman, and more all pay him a visit and demand something from him. Through these complicated interactions, Charlie is forced to learn about himself, his priorities, and his inheritance from his father. In a sense, his story is one of coming of age.

This novel is one of magic and adventure. Readers are transported into alternate realities, ones where deepest fears and sweetest desires are manifested. The only catch is that what occurs in the spirit realm has an impact on the "real" one. Of all the questions raised throughout the story, perhaps the most compelling is that of fate. Is the life we live one solely dependent upon the visible, or are there unseen magical forces which direct the events of our lives and which remain completely out of our control or perception? Gaiman took this idea and ran with it, creating a story about maturity and wit.

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