Friday, September 16, 2005

Anansi Boys...

is the name of Neil Gaiman’s latest novel. Anyone read it yet? I picked it up in the shop and was completely turned off by the first sentence.

It begins, as most things begin, with a song,

is just so typically Gaiman, with it’s fey and completely unecessary wee sub-clause (first caption in Brief Lives: “It is, of course, a miracle”), that having read a good deal of the man’s output over the years I wonder if I actually need to bother with what already seems like a lazy, comfortable rehash of earlier triumphs.

I may, without a doubt, be reacting quite irrationally. Let’s try it again.

It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

No. It just sets my fucking teeth on edge, and I can tell you why. “It begins with a song,” I could get behind. It draws attention to the story. Interrupting my support with “as most things begin,” just pisses me off, because it draws attention to the storyteller, the author, the celebrity Gaiman and his silken bag of tricks. “As most things;” such as what, for example? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a documentary now, is it? The entire purpose of the sentence is not to let me know I’m reading a story that begins with a song, but that I’m reading a book by Neil Gaiman. His name is on the front fucking cover, that’s enough for me. Just tell the story without mugging through it.

Many may claim that Gaiman has always been a hack; his comic output constantly raking over the coals of Alan Moore’s superior efforts, but I read Sandman when it came out, and loved it. American Gods; feh, not so much (“as good as Stephen King or your money back“ - what. the. fuck?). Coraline? Creepy; terrific. Original. But still I see “as most things begin,” and think “condescending, smug little twat,” the immodest storyteller drawing attention to his methods, safe and cosy uncle Neil with his “come sit by the fire and I’ll spin you a yarn” schtick and want to punch the book in the face. Possibly, it gets better; there is, after all, plenty more of it (shit, kill me now), but on the evidence of page one the disappointing realisation is that Gaiman is writing for his fans and has lost all interest in challenging his readers.

Category: Books and Comics


  1. I've read it. It's fucking hilarious. Like Gaiman doing PG Wodehouse.

  2. Well, then I'll try and read the whole page next time I'm in the shop.


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