Plot Junkie: Practical Magic and Anansi Boys

92. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in town. If a damp spring arrived, if cows in the pasture gave milk that was runny with blood, if a colt died of colic or a baby was born with a red birthmark stamped onto his cheek, everyone believed that fate must have been twisted, at least a little, by those women over on Magnolia Street.

I’ve liked nearly everything I’ve read by Alice Hoffman, but this and Here on Earth are by far my favorites. I’m always entranced by her so-detailed construction of small town life. She creates this kind of female New England mythology—the women are deeply connected to each other and their heritage and the land and the town—and there are repercussions of ancient events echoing through the centuries.

Good stuff.

93. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman

Fat Charlie has been avoiding his father for decades. But when his rather insistent fiancée demands that Charlie invite him to the wedding, Charlie calls home. Instead, he finds himself on a redeye flight to attend his father’s funeral. Unexpected things—and people—start showing up: the brother that he didn’t know he had (and with whom his fiancée has a disconcerting affinity), a terrifying woman with the blank black eyes of a crow, and a man whose inner beast gets the best of him.

Anansi Boys is kind of generally set in the same world as American Gods (a combination of reality and mythology) but the scope is very different. American Gods is just so vast, sprawling over continents and back and forth in history, while Anansi Boys is a bit more of just personal, more just the story of Fat Charlie. But who wouldn’t love Fat Charlie?

1 thought on “Plot Junkie: Practical Magic and Anansi Boys”

  1. great reviews! I too liked Practical Magic very much (read last spring) and just recently finished American Gods by Gaiman…. so The Anansi Boys is a natural followup read.

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