Notes from the Bookshop 4: The Ape and the Monolith

Setting: A used books shop (Blossom(s)) in Bangalore, some time ago.

Scene: A couple of girls in conversation at the Sci-Fi / Fantasy section.

One of the girls to the other: (something to the effect) “…strangely, it was only after finishing the book that I realised all the characters were black!”

I happened to overhear this snatch of conversation. However, I didn’t give it much thought; its only tangible effect on my mind was a vague feeling of smug assurance that I could never be that imperceptive. (Imperceptive does seem to be a word, though the WordPress proofreader seems to deny it.) Days, weeks, and months passed by as it slowly dawned on me (I could hear The Dawn of Man theme playing in my head) that the girl had been talking about a book I’d read a while ago, Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys; I realised with creeping horror that I had no clue about (drum roll please!) the ethnicity of Mr. Nancy and the Anansi brothers! I felt, and still feel, like a clueless ancient ape confronted with a mysterious monolith.

P.S 1: I haven’t read American Gods and am aware that that’s not an excuse, but another sign of my imbecility.

P.S 2: I take this rather unflattering moment to let everyone know that besides blogging, I’m tweeting too.

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This entry was posted in Books, Musings and Reminiscences, Notes from the Bookshop and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Notes from the Bookshop 4: The Ape and the Monolith

  1. nzumel says:

    Anansi is a West African spider god, also known in Caribbean folklore. I guess that would be (one of) the hints to the characters’ ethnicity, though I’ve not read the book yet (I should!) so I don’t know whether or not Mr. Gaiman dropped any other hints…
    American Gods is not bad.

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