Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bookanista Feature: Neil Gaiman's ANANSI BOYS (narrated by Lenny Henry)

I'm going to do something a tad different for this Bookanista review: I'm reviewing the audiobook version.

First let me explain: I LOVE AUDIOBOOKS. Which goes well with another deep-seated feeling I have: I HATE HOUSEWORK. So, I usually let the housework pile up until we're out of clean dishes and can no longer find the floor. Then I take a day and do all the house cleaning stuff all at once.

That's where audiobooks come in: I listen to audiobooks while doing housework, and it makes the housework not quite as painful. In fact, the mark of a good audiobook is one where I will voluntarily do household chores so I can keep listening.

ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman kept me washing dishes, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, and even--gasp!--dusting. It's that good.

About the book: This book is strange. And I mean that in the best possible way--and fans of Neil Gaiman (who have all probably already read this book) will be happy to know that the unexpected, at times eerie, at times comical is strong in this novel, too. Briefly, ANANSI BOYS is about the sons of the African god Anansi, the spider god who owns all the stories. When Charlie Nancy's father dies, he discovers not only that his father was a spider god, but that he has a brother who inherited the powers of their father--and who's stopping in for a visit that will ruin change Charlie's life forever.

Cool, right? You can see why I wanted to know this story!

About the audiobook: But here's why I'm featuring the audiobook version of this book specifically: the narrator, Lenny Henry, was perfect for the role. Typically Gaiman narrates his own audiobooks--in fact, I bought ANASI BOYS as my first Gaiman audiobook expecting Gaiman to be the narrator specifically. I was a little disappointed to find that Lenny Henry narrated instead.

But I was quickly in love with this voice actor! He had the perfect accent for each of the characters, and his voice made them each pop in a magical way. I found Jaguar's voice in particularly to be brilliant, especially when compared to Graham Coates.

The voice narration added a whole new layer of depth to the book. Henry's voices were not the voice that I'd have used in my mind--instead, they were better. Individual words stood out, tones were nuanced. I cannot say enough how perfect this narrator was for this book.

If you'd like to try out this or other audiobooks, I'm a big fan of monthly subscription service where you can get a new audiobook a month or buy audiobooks at a discount.

If you'd like to see what the other Bookanistas have been reading, check it out below!

Elana Johnson marvels at Moonglass
Christine Fonseca  raves about It’s Raining Cupcakes
Shelli Johannes-Wells  chats with Pure and The Summer of Firsts & Lasts author Terra McEvaoy
LiLa Roecker  and Carrie Harris have a passion for Possession
Beth Revis admires the audiobook of Anansi Boys
Carolina Valdez Miller is giddy over Moonglass – with giveaway
Megan Miranda  swoons over Strings Attached
Shana Silver delves into Divergent
Sarah Frances Hardy gabs about Gossip from the Girls Room
Matt Blackstone is tantalized by Bad Taste in Boys
Stasia Ward Kehoe  glories in a guestanista review of The Rendering


Michelle said...

I listened to this book on audio and loved it! It was the first book I read by Gaiman.

I also use audiobooks as a house cleaning aid. Or when I'm cooking. Or showering. Or driving. I love them. I'm listening to I Am Number Four right now. :)

Jessi said...

Audiobooks while cleaning? Genius idea! I'm totally trying it out!

Tere Kirkland said...

Actually, I've never listened to a single audiobook (except maybe for How to Eat Fried Worms mrphle years ago), but that is an ingenious idea.

Love Anansi Boys, and love Gaiman reading to me more. Get the dvd of "Neil Gaiman's A Short Film About John Bolton", and check out his tour appearances for more Neil reading.

He rules!

Stasia said...

I adore Neil Gaiman--The Graveyard Book is one of my favorite books ever--but actually haven't read this one (hangs head in shame). Audiobook sounds great. Get ready dusty house, here Anansi & I come!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

By far the coolest recommendation ever. I don't normally listen to audio books, mainly because I have the attention span of a gnat, but this sounds awesome. I remember reading a book to my daughter years ago about Anansi. What a cool subject for Gaiman to tackle. The guy is absolute genius. I'll be seeing him at WFC in October! Can't wait. Also looking forward to the audio book. Never occurred to me to listen to one while doing housework. Brilliant.

Leti said...

Lenny Henry is wonderful. He made the book come alive and really did make it better, which was almost impossible, as Anansi Boys was perfect. He was on a BBC series called Chef!

Jessica said...

I love audiobooks too and Anansi Boys is one of the few NG books I still haven't read yet.

Speaking of Neil Gaiman audiobooks, have you heard his Two Plays for Voices? If you haven't, you MUST MUST listen to it soon. It's two of his short stories- Snow Glass Apples and Murder Mysteries done by a full cast. Bebe Newirth performs one of them and Michael Emerson (Ben from Lost- love him!) and Brian Denehy do the other. Man they are good. I have listened to them over and over again.