By Neil Gaiman
Narrated by Lenny Henry
Ⓟ 2005, Harper Audio
“Fat Charlie” Nancy is a rather unprepossessing guy. He’s an accountant. He has a fiancée that he hasn’t slept with yet. He suffers from stage fright when confronted with a karaoke mic. When things get rough there’s nothing more than he’s like to do than find succor with a bit of goat curry and a cup of tea. But when his unrepentantly flamboyant father passes away, Charlie travels from his home in England back to Florida for the funeral. From there on out, Fat Charlie discovers things about his family, his brother in particular, and especially himself that are harrowingly frightening, funny and amazing all at the same time. This story is Afro-Caribbean in nature and feels very different from Gaiman’s usual style of weird, drippy, wet London. The story dazzles with bright sunshine, flashes with slick and clever dialogue, and echoes with the rhythms of ancient drum beats from West Africa. But Gaiman’s trademark other-world-that-is-nowhere, a land where reality has a rather tenuous grip and is fascinating for its strangeness is still here in the form of a dreamlike place where the world begins and ancient folkloric figures inhabit.
Lenny Henry (Dawn French’s now ex-husband) is the British narrator who reflects the world beats of the story with relative facility: The English accents (natch) of Fat Charlie and other UK characters, and the smooth American voice of Fat Charlie’s brother in particular. While I wouldn’t say all his character voices (i.e. the older figures in the story) were on the mark, the rest of the cast, men and women alike, were well delineated without resorting to overly/extreme comic interpretations. There were a couple places where I didn’t catch a word; but overall, well paced, clear, and entertaining.
OTHER: I borrowed a CD edition of Anansi Boys (by Neil Gaiman; narrated by Lenny Henry) from the Jackson County Library System (Southern Oregon.) This title was #297 on my personal library index with an entry date of 06/23/2012. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.