Friday, October 8, 2010

Two More Trickster Tales by Neil Gaiman

I can't imagine that there are many people reading this who aren't at least familiar with the work of Neil Gaiman, but while we're on the topic of Tricksters and all their mischief, I thought I would point out two of my favorites of his. (Although I don't think I have such a thing as an un-favorite, when it comes to Gaiman.)

After blowing my mind with his Sandman series, Neil got to work on full length novels. The first one I read, American Gods, gave me the now-familiar feeling of WOW that his work seems to inspire in his fans.

What I find impressive about the work is the use of gods of old, such as Odin, becoming tricksters in their adaption to American culture. But as for the how, and the why, and all the rest, I'll let you read it.

In a follow up to this, although not particularly a sequel, Gaiman offers us Anansi Boys, which I have to admit I liked even better than the first book, perhaps because of my longtime fondness for Anansi stories.

This book was a quicker read, a little less dense, perhaps, but more focused and intense. Familiar characters from folklore appear and are touched by Gaiman's particular style. And it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Nancy boy."

I'd love to get your thoughts on these, if you've read them. And then anyone who hasn't read them can perhaps browse through the comments and get a consensus. (In case the hundreds of reviews on amazon don't do the trick!)


  1. I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE these books. I also love Anansi Boys slightly more.

    I read the second book first, and I was not familiar with the Anansi stories, so the story came as a complete surprise to me. That might the thing that gives it an edge over American Gods, but also I felt that the story was more tightly-woven.

    By that I mean I had minor issues with plot and resolution of American Gods - aaaaand I was kind of upset that the only representation of Irish myth was a leprechaun when there are plenty of fun Celtic gods to pick from... *grin*

    Nevertheless, I think Gaiman did a great job of bringing these characters into a modern setting AND delivering them to us in such a way that it wasn't immediately obvious what (or who) we were dealing with.

    Delightful reads, both.

  2. Yeah, I agree with you about Anansi Boys--I liked it just a little bit better. I know a lot of people who've expressed a preference for American Gods "because they read that one first," but I do think Anansi Boys has a bit tighter storyline.