Sunday, March 1, 2009

Your father was a, really (Books - Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman)

After working for 11 hours on a homework assignment yesterday, I fell into bed and didn't really feel like tackling Middlemarch, so I reached into the TBR pile and pulled out Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. I wasn't wild about American Gods but I did like The Graveyard Book and Coraline and, in fact, the new 3-D film of Coraline is terrific, so I'm not sure what to expect from this one. So far, a hapless fellow named Charlie learns that his father has dropped dead while singing karaoke in a bar and flies to his funeral. After it, he learns from an old neighbor that his father was a really. This tale is told in a whimsical voice - half Dickensian saga, half comic pop fiction - it is fast-moving, funny, and the language has a kind of permenance.
It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

In the beginning, after all, were the words, and they came with a tune. That was how the world was made, how the void was divided, how the lands and the stars and the dreams and the little gods and the animals, how all of them came into the world.

They were sung.

The great beasts were sung into existence, after the Singer had done with the planets and the hills and the trees and the oceans and the lesser beasts. The cliffs that bound existence were sung, and the hunting grounds, and the dark.

Songs remain. They last. The right song can turn an emporer into a laughingstock, can bring down dynasties. A song can last long after the events and the people in it are dust and dreams and gone. That's the power of songs.

There are other things you can do with songs. They do not only make worlds or recreate existence. Fat Charlie Nancy's father, for example, was simply using them to have what he hoped and expected would be a marvelous night out.

This may be just the ticket. Now back to homework.

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