Grab Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things and Anansi Boys for some shady summer text fun and love games.

Okay neither of these delightful Gaiman tomes is loitering on the new release shelf in you local free book lending operation called the public library or independent bookstore–if you’re lucky enough to have an incarnation of the latter in your swamp. So what. Good reads are good reads and if you’ve not wandered through either and you enjoy the landscape of Gaiman’s imagination perhaps it’s time to hide under some shade tree and indulge yourself.

In Anansi Boys, Gaiman spins the Spider myth anew complete with Fat Charlie and his long-lost brother, Spider, dealing with the legacy of their family inheritance via dearly departed dad, Mr. Nancy.  Gaiman concocts a tasty rum punch involving theft, murder, mayhem, mythology, and love. Fat Charlie soon learns there’s more ways to travel than by plane–sometimes one’s ticket to ride involves four elderly women, black candles and a little voodoo–no seatbelts required. You might want to be careful what you say to the next spider with the nerve to plop down beside you–it might summon your brother who might fancy your girlfriend as much as you do. Yes, Spider, does complicate Fat Charlie’s life but it’s all for the best–who needs a Rose when there’s a Daisy for the picking–though said Spider really hasn’t any intentions at all beyond entertaining himself.  While one can zoom through Anansi Boys simply enjoying the unfolding of a story–one can do some deep thought diving too via the role of myth in the human psyche and the desire for stories and the telling of them. There’s magic in words–spoken and written.  Maybe in karaoke too? What really constitutes ‘magic’ and why do some folks engage it as part of life while others have no clue of its existence? How doe the imagination create magic via storytelling? I’m not quite certain–But–I know one thing for sure, Spider’s bedroom has me wanting my own version–complete with waterfall.

While I enjoyed the tangling and untangling of web romping of Anansi Boys quite a bit, it was in Fragile Things, Short Fictions and Wonders where I loitered and took my time exploring and delighting in Gaiman’s literary small plates buffet. Don’t skip the introduction wherein Gaiman offers commentary regarding each ‘wonder’ in the collection. I was in a very very dark mood when I turned to this tome for some serious distraction. “A Study in Emerald” involving those Baker Street fellows hooked me straight off.  This might have had some benefit from my anticipation of the second season of the ‘new’ modern Sherlock rendered by Masterpiece. I was primed and ready for some mystery and fun Holmes style and swallowed this hook completely. While there is much temptation to gush at length over many of the short stories here I will refrain from such indulgence.  There’s a lot to like if you’re already a Gaiman fan–and more to discover if you’re not yet.  I’m seeing my coffee, ghosts and zombies in a different light since reading “Bitter Grounds.” I’ve been wondering what sort of “x-file” episode could have evolved out of “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” Neither harlequins nor valentines will be the same for me after consuming “Harlequin Valentine.” For The Matrix fans there is “Goliath”–enough said.  Get a copy and read for yourself!

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2 Comments

  1. May 21, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I believe it is more fun to read your posts than the writings you speak of… a more interesting exercise, indeed!

    Could I write you a private mail and ask for insight on an ‘immature’ issue?


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