Neil Gaiman – Anansi Boys

Gaiman, Neil (2005). Anansi Boys. New York: HarperCollins. 2005. ISBN 9780061794971. Pagine 416. 4,49 €

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Abbiamo già parlato della mia (piuttosto recente) passione per Neil Gaiman, E abbiamo già avuto occasione di parlare della sua versatilità, della sua capacità di esplorare l’inquietudine e la molteplicità. A proposito di quello strano Bildungsroman che è The Ocean at the End of the Lane («Adults follow paths. Children explore.» «A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change. But I was seven when all of these things happened, and I was the same person at the end of it that I was at the beginning, wasn’t I? So was everyone else. They must have been. People don’t change.») e, prima ancora, a proposito delle mitologia di American Gods.

Di American Gods Anansi Boys è, in un certo senso, uno spin-off. Ma soltanto in un certo senso: Anansi è uno degli dei che in American Gods vengono evocati. Ma quanto American Gods era cupo e nordico nella sua sostanza assassina (proprio nel senso dei sacrifici umani e degli spietati quanto fallimentari calcoli sbagliati di Wotan), tanto Anansi Boys è solare e caraibico, nonostante qualche inquietante passo nell’orrore: Anansi è in fin dei conti il padrone delle storie, il trickster: più Loki che Wotan.

Insomma, scopriamo qui un altro registro di Neil Gaiman: quello comico.

Anche di questo non vi voglio raccontare niente: leggetelo e buon divertimento.

* * *

Prima delle solite citazione, lasciatemi menare un po’ il can per l’aia.

Neil Gaiman è amico personale di Tori Amos, una pianista e cantante che io adoro, da quando l’ho scoperta al suo disco di debutto Little Earthquakes, sulla rivista Keyboard del settembre 1992 (all’epoca strimpellavo su una tastiera che ho ancora). La recensione di Greg Rule (Tori! Tori! Tori!) era entusiasta. E Tori era (ed è) bellissima.

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I due si conoscono da molto tempo e troviamo traccia della loro amicizia sia negli acknowledgment di questo romanzo («I started writing it in Tori’s spare house in Ireland, and I finished it there as well. She is a most gracious hostess.»), sia in quelli di American Gods («Mrs. Hawley lent me her Florida house to write in, and all I had to do in return was scare away the vultures. She lent me her Irish house to finish it in and cautioned me not to scare away the ghosts. My thanks to her and Mr. Hawley for all their kindness and generosity.»: Tori Amos, che aveva sposato l’ingegnere del suono Mark Hawley il 22 febbraio 1998, è chiaramente Mrs. Hawley) e di The Ocean at the End of the Lane («Tori gave me a safe house to write it in, and I cannot thank her enough.»)

Dal canto suo, Tori strizza spesso l’occhio a Neil nelle sue canzoni. Questo è un esempio:

All the world just stopped now
So you say you don’t wanna stay together anymore
Let me take a deep breath babe
If you need me
Me and Neil’ll be hangin’ out with the dream king
Neil says hi
By the way I don’t believe you’re leaving
Cause me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream
I think it’s that girl
And I think they’re pieces of me you’ve never seen
Maybe she’s just pieces of me you’ve never seen well

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is danging…
Dangling’…Danglin’ for me darlin’
You don’t know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in you hand

Maybe I ain’t used to maybes
Smashing in a cold room
Cutting my hands up every time I touch you
Maybe maybe it’s time to wave goodbye now
Time to wave goodbye now
Caught a ride with the moon
I know I know you well
Better than I
Used to haze all clouded up
My mind in the daze of why it could’ve never been
So you say and I say
You know you’re full of wish
And your “baby baby baby babies”
I tell you they’re pieces of me you’ve never seen
Maybe she’s just pieces of me you’ve never seen

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is dangin’…
Dangling’…Danglin’ for me darlin’
You don’t know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in you hand
With that tear in you hand

Insomma, ci leggo un pezzo dei miei personalissimi 6 gradi di separazione. Del concerto (bellissimo) di Tori Amos dal vivo al Palladium di Roma vi racconterò un’altra volta.

* * *

Un’altra piccola coincidenza, o curiosità, o chiamatela come volete, è la ricorrenza dell’aggettivo tetchy [posizione Kindle 2887]. Non è una parola frequentissima, e per me ha un sapore tipicamente British. Questo è quanto ci dice il sito degli Oxford Dictionaries:

adjective (tetchier, tetchiest)
irritable and bad-tempered:
     she had always been tetchy and impatient with him
     a tetchy statement
Derivatives
tetchily
adverb
tetchiness
noun
Origin:
late 16th century: probably from a variant of Scots tache ‘blotch, fault’, from Old French teche

Questa notazione, naturalmente, è un ennesimo elemento a sostegno, qualora ve ne fosse ancora bisogno, dell’accusa di pedanteria che molti mi contestano (per la pedanteria basterebbe che sapeste quanto mi irrita trovare capiche? – come qui alla pos. 4758 – al posto di capisce?). Ma c’è un piccolo ulteriore motivo di curiosità, che secondo me giustifica la divagazione: ho imparato questa parola in un dialogo di un libro divertentissimo e giustamente famoso, What a Carve Up! (La famiglia Winshaw) di Jonathan Coe. La battuta del libro («Do I detect a little post-coital tetchiness, by any chance?») è diventata prevedibilmente un tormentone del lessico coniugale.

* * *

Qualche piccolo assaggio  (consueti riferimenti alla posizione Kindle):

He had a smile that could make a girl squeeze her toes. [585]

Sorrow settles upon us like pollen in hay fever season. [1097]

Blood calls to blood like sirens in the night. [1166]

Fat Charlie was thirsty and his head hurt and his mouth tasted evil and his eyes were too tight in his head and all his teeth twinged and his stomach burned and his back was aching in a way that started around his knees and went up to his forehead and his brains had been removed and replaced with cotton balls and needles and pins which was why it hurt to try and think, and his eyes were not just too tight in his head but they must have rolled out in the night and been reattached with roofing nails; and now he noticed that anything louder than the gentle Brownian motion of air molecules drifting softly past each other was above his pain threshold. Also, he wished he were dead. [1295]

Even the people he represented thought he was a weasel. But they believed that he was their weasel, and in that they were wrong.
Grahame Coats was his own weasel. [2195: parafrasi di una nota citazione]

Different creatures have different eyes. Human eyes (unlike, say, a cat’s eyes, or an octopus’s) are only made to see one version of reality at a time. Fat Charlie saw one thing with his eyes, and he saw something else with his mind, and in the gulf between the two things, madness waited. [2626]

Most people do not notice other people. [2813]

EACH PERSON WHO EVER WAS OR IS OR WILL BE HAS A SONG. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their own song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their songs instead. [2834]

Spider was not terribly good at telling the truth. He regarded truth as fundamentally malleable, more or less a matter of opinion, and Spider was able to muster some pretty impressive opinions when he had to. [3010]

Human beings do not like being pushed about by gods. [3201]

“Birds,” Spider said, “are the last of the dinosaurs. Tiny velociraptors with wings. Devouring defenseless wiggly things and, and nuts, and fish, and, and other birds. They get the early worms. And have you ever watched a chicken eat? They may look innocent, but birds are, well, they’re vicious.” [3222]

Being dead is probably just like everything else in life: you pick some of it up as you go along, and you just make up the rest. [3527]

Even a world populated exclusively with castles and cockroaches and people named K was preferable to a world filled with malignant birds that whispered his name in chorus. [3541: ricordatevi di questa frase la prossima volta che vi si affaccerà alla mente l’abusato aggettivo kafkiano, e pronunciatela in sua vece]

“That’s a relief. If you abandoned me down here I don’t know how I’d get out.”
“Don’t tempt me.” [3684]

“You seem a bit twitchy.”
“I suppose I am. You’ll think this is silly, but I’m a bit—well, I have a thing about birds.”
“What, a phobia?”
“Sort of.”
“Well, that’s the common term for an irrational fear of birds.”
“What do they call a rational fear of birds, then?” [3763]

“[…] But they only turn up on the battlefield, when the fighting’s done. Waiting for you to die.” [3922]

By the windmills of Babyland he sat down and wept, and the moldering toys seemed even sadder and lonelier than he remembered. [3976]

He remembered it, in the way you remember things from childhood, part memory, part memory of the memory […]. [4026]

[…] that’ll be as much use to us as a water-soluble umbrella  […]. [4115]

Grahame Coats did not go for walks; he had people to do that for him. [4248]

STORIES ARE WEBS, INTERCONNECTED STRAND TO STRAND, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of story. [4520]

The wind changed then, and he smelled the ammoniac scent of male cat on the air. [4764]

“[…] The important thing about songs is that they’re just like stories. They don’t mean a damn unless there’s people listenin’ to them.” [5029]

[…] the beast made the noise of a cat being shampooed, a lonely wail of horror and outrage, of shame and defeat. [5316]

2 Risposte to “Neil Gaiman – Anansi Boys”

  1. Neil Gaiman – Don’t Panic | Sbagliando s'impera Says:

    […] di cui ho parlato più volte su questo blog (soprattutto recensendo suoi romanzi, come qui, qui e qui). Mi aspettavo che fosse una guida, informata e piena di curiosità, con qualche chicca introvabile […]

  2. Tori Amos – 2 giugno 2014 (e 19 aprile 1994) | Sbagliando s'impera Says:

    […] già raccontato come avevo incontrato Tori Amos, recensendo un libro del suo grande amico Neil Gaiman. L’avevo incontrata su una rivista di musica del 1992 ed ero rimasto colpito dalla sua […]


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