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One of fiction's most audaciously original talents, Neil Gaiman now gives us a mythology for a modern age -- complete with dark prophecy, family dysfunction, mystical deceptions, and killer birds. Not to mention a lime.

Anansi Boys
God is dead. Meet the kids.

When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.

Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times bestseller, American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny -- a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

Topics: Mythology, Magic, Brothers, Supernatural Powers, Gods & Goddesses, Race Relations, Adventurous, Funny, Magical Realism, England, Florida, Speculative Fiction, and Series

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061794971
List price: $7.99
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3.25 stars“Fat” Charlie learns he has a long, lost brother, Spider, after his father dies. He also learns that his father was and his brother is a god. Unfortunately, it seems that finding Spider and bringing him into Fat Charlie’s life is creating very big problems - Spider is managing to mess up Fat Charlie’s life in very big ways. It was o.k. I’m not big into fantasy, but urban fantasy is more appealing. In this book, I found myself much more interested in the “urban” and far less interested in the “fantasy”. It was also pretty funny. I am adding on an extra quarter-star (and debated about adding a half-star) for the narrator of the audio (Lenny Harry), who is amazing!!! He does those different voices and multiple accents so very well. I love the voices of the old Caribbean women, especially.more
I have no idea why, but I didn't like this book anywhere near as much as American Gods. It's still interesting and fun to read, but... there's a different tone, definitely.more
I usually rate books just out of pure entertainment value, and this book was quite entertaining, which merits it a 3 to 3.5 star rating. But it gets bumped to a 4 because of the ending. It didn't feel rushed, it unfolded nicely and it felt worthwhile.more
It was fun, I know I enjoyed it, but now I come to review it I don't much remember what happened.more
I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time. I moved slowly up the library waiting list, and finally there it was in my hands at last. Which makes it all the more disappointing that this book failed to live up to my hopes. This is a harsh thing to say about a well-written book that's hilarious in spots, and poignant in others. I couldn't help comparing it with American Gods, and it falls sadly short. American Gods has haunted me since I first read it, several years ago. Anansi Boys made me smile, but didn't stick with me at all.more
No one blends the real and the fantastic like Neil Gaiman. The more I read of him, the more I believe he is one of our greatest living story-tellers.

Anansi Boys is a story of family, fable, and finding one's voice. Neil's own narrative voice is effortlessly captivating, as he weaves a tale as tight and multifaceted as a mischievous Spider's spindly web. His characters are full and loveable, his humor and sensibilities endearing, and his trademark spins of reality full of fun and hidden wisdom. Can't recommend this modern classic enough.more
Haven't read much Neil Gaiman, but will seek out some more.more
I don’t know why I put this down as a three initially. Obviously, it’s bumped up after subsequent rereadings.

I think it’s partially because Charlie reminds a little too much of Richard from Neverwhere at the beginning of this, as they’re both milquetoast characters who get thrown into the fantastical world. But while Richard just seems to accept everything that goes on in that book, Charlie does take charge of his situation and although he cocks up massively, Charlie does try to make things right. But for the beginning of the book, I’m not a fan of Charlie. I can relate to him and his boring life (and many of those Mitty-esque fantasies), but I don’t really warm up to him until he starts to man up. And aside from Mr. Nancy (because he’s one of my favorites from American Gods), the only character I really gelled to automatically was Daisy. She’s funny, I like her chemistry with Charlie and her natural desire to do right. Most every other character falls along the same lines of Charlie: okay, character, kind of bland and then starts getting better as the plot goes on. Although Maeve Livingstone is pretty awesome anytime that she shows up.

This could really be taken as the lighter and softer version of American Gods, as it touches on some of the same general themes (including one that’s a big massive spoiler). It’s more of a side story exploring the larger aspects of that universe, and I like that this is a more personal story than the American epic. And to people who think that Good Omens is only funny because of Terry Pratchett, read this to be proven wrong. Gaiman’s been funny, and this is hysterical while Gaiman retains his general style. The part where Spider is being attacked by murderous birds, but then you add murderous penguins and flamingos.

I do like this book a lot, but I really wouldn’t recommend to start with when going into Gaiman for the first time. It’s more accessible, but it’s not very representative of his work as a whole. I’d actually say start with American Gods and then moving on to this.
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This little book ended up being fun, although, for some reason, I wasn't keen on the plot at first (as read on various forums/summaries). It took some time getting in, because the reader does not see the various characters' connections to each others, but, like a spider's web, they end up joining and making sense towards the end. The characters become likeable the more they get into the action, whereas the early characterisation could easily fall into stereotyping. While I'd say I prefer Gaiman's novellas or graphic novels, this one ties in well with the other 'American Gods' novel, as there are gods too. A good read, but not Gaiman's best.more
One of the things I really appreciate about the Neil Gaiman books I've read (well, the grown-up ones, which are this one and American Gods) is that they're not overtly sexual. Sex happens in them, but there's none of the awkward knowledge that someone sat down and decided which words to use for which body parts, imagined this particular scenario, and now is passing this particular, specific fantasy to me via the words on the page.

Maybe it's just me, but I find that weird.

So, I like that Gaiman lets suggestion and innuendo do the work for him. It gets the job done and doesn't weird me out. Call me a prude if you like; it wouldn't be the first time. At least not my first time. (See...like that.)

Even aside from the non-awkward sexual references, this was a good story and the writing was solid. The characters were complex and I loved the way Gaiman played with language, between the dialects and the excellent stoat references. I listened to part of this on audiobook while crocheting a scarf, and Lenny Henry's command of accents really enhanced the experience (until I started wondering why I was sitting with a ball of wool in my lap in unseasonably warm spring weather listening to a story set largely in tropical climates and I switched back to the large-print version that was all they had left at the library when I went to check out the book).

One idea I really liked was that people reflect the art around them.

"People take on the shapes of the songs and the stories that surround them, especially if they don't have their own."

Which is a good reason to avoid television, I think. That was kind of implied in the Grahame Coats character, with all of the cliches he uses and references to crime dramas and reality police shows. These were the stories that surrounded him and that shaped him. And I suppose you'll just have to read the book to see where that got him. I appreciate that Gaiman seems to lean towards writing the kind of story by which I don't mind being shaped.

Like I was saying, though, it was good, but it didn't capture my imagination the way American Gods did. It seemed a little too neat (neat in the "not messy" sense). And all of the transatlantic flights kind of wore on me. I don't enjoy flying, even in novels.more
It starts out as funny as something by Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. While the humor declines a bit as the tale goes on, the enjoyment remains.--J.more
It has its moments; it's mostly fun, but nothing special enough to make me care about it. The two main characters are irritatingly unpleasant, which for me makes this easily the worst Gaiman book I've read.more
I liked this book better than American Gods, although the subject is related, I preferred the smaller scale of Anansi Boys. It felt like American Gods tried to fit an enormous amount of material and territory into one story. This book feels more intimate and comfortable in scale and style, and I think it's a more engaging story.more
Fat Charlie Nancy is an ordinary guy, living an ordinary life in London. Stuck in a miserable accounting job run by a thief and married to an ordinary girl named Rosie, who has a horrible mother, Fat Charlie seems content enough with life. Finding out that his estranged father has died back in Florida, Fat Charlie ends up meeting Spider, the brother he never knew he had. Spider quickly decides that he doesn’t mind Fat Charlie’s life either and decides to take it over. A decision that takes Fat Charlie down a rabbit hole filled with alternate planes of reality, an encounter with an aggrieved Tiger, a mentally unstable bird woman and a little crime fighting in the Caribbean. Anansi Boys is a funny, fantastical read that is long on imagination.more
As he is preparing for his upcoming wedding, Fat Charlie Nancy’s father passes away. When Fat Charlie reluctantly attends his father’s funeral he discovers that his father is Anansi, the Spider god of Africa. Anansi is also a god of telling stories and naming things, something he happened to steal from another ancient African god, Tiger. Charlie also discovers that he has a brother Spider, who has inherited their father’s godly abilities and magic. Fat Charlie life begins to spin out of control as Spider comes to stay with him to get to know him better. A series of events send the brothers on a series of adventures that change both their lives. This is a wonderful book—another winner by Neil Gaiman. He has created a complex family story—in the environment of fantasy, mythology and comedy. Five stars out of five.more
[Anansi Boys] by [[Neil Gaiman]]Finished 6/21/12After reading [American Gods] for the second time, I realized I should probably try diversify. This tale didn't disappoint. I read the last 200 pages in one day - while making an effort to take breaks.[Anansi Boys] picks up from American Gods by taking one of its side characters, Mr. Nancy, and creating a story about his family. Specifically his son, Fat Charlie, a man who is content with his non-quite-content life. Like Shadow in the other novel, Fat Charlie starts dealing with gods and finds out how far his ability to believe will take him.Overall, a better-told story than American Gods, though less conceptually interesting."Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew..." (45)more
Neil Gaiman is an absolute master. Anansi Boys is breathtaking. After finishing the book yesterday, I have tried to find some level or angle that is worth at least token criticism. No luck. The reader marvels at the switches that take place in story from modern to legend to myth - each setting as realistic and compelling as the one before. As you close the book, you think "It worked."more
Fat Charlie is meek and spends his life trying not to get noticed so he won't be embarrassed. When his fiance learns that his father is still living, she insists that they invite Anansi to the wedding even though Fat Charlie does not want to see him. When Fat Charlie tries to find his father Anansi, he finds out that he's just died. At the funeral, Fat Charlie finds out from old neighbors that he had a brother. Fat Charlie calls to his brother by asking a spider.Anansi, one of the most popular characters in West African and Caribbean folklore, is the trickster spider. Anansi is smart and funny and all stories belong to him.In Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman creates his own version of how Anansi got his stories and what happens to his bloodline after he dies. Part folktale, part magic, the story is all fun. This is my first Neil Gaiman book, and I will definitely be reading another.more
Good, flowing, book. In a way prefer it to American Gods. The fantasy and texture of the world is typical Gaiman, bit too much at times but ultimately entertaining read.more
This was my first Neil Gaimen novel and I now appreciate why he is so well loved. His prose is elegant and imaginative. The characters draw you in, and his description of fantastical worlds come alive in the mind.Anansi Boys is the story of two brothers. One, named Spider, is a pseudo-god who has no trouble living like he's above mere mortal concerns. This is true for the most part. The other, nicknamed Fat Charlie, is a timid average joe who has never heard of his brother Spider nor his godly ancestry.The story begins at a slow pace as the paltry life of Fat Charlie is established. I was more and more intrigued as the book progressed, and by the end I was plesantly surprised how everything came together for a strong finish.more
A bit of a slog at the start but picked up as it went along and tied up all the characters nicely at the end. Fat Charlie finds out that the animal gods of legend are real and their stories are intertwined with life. Not a great book but entertaining enough.more
This is a fun and quick read; more magic than SciFi.more
This mix of folktale and modern life and magic has a quirky playfulness to it. Underneath are strands of violence and dishonesty and envy. What I enjoyed most was seeing Fat Charlie cast off his embarrassment and conventionality and become more authentically himself. I also liked the juxtaposition of the "tiger" with the "spider" and all that these two characters stood for. It was a nice melding of real life and fantasy.more
I read American Gods a few years ago and found the concept interesting, but never connected to the characters. I was told at the time, Anansi Boys was better.Yes and no.Gaiman is a brilliant writer, no question, but for several reasons this book didn't connect for me. The characters are fully realized, yet the main characters--Fat Charlie and Spider--are rather unlikeable. Fat Charlie is a hapless everyman, and Spider is every bit a trickster god's son. Following Fat Charlie is a bit like watching an episode of The Flintstones, where you know Fred will do something stupid, and all you can do is cringe. The plot threads also come together in a bizarrely tidy way at the end.I appreciate the writing, but this book just isn't a keeper for me.more
A good, but not a great book. The story was entertaining, but the characters did not draw me into it.more
I have really enjoyed this book. It was witty and adventurous and I never really knew where it was going. (Although what happened to Grahame Coats wasn't that unexpected, you still really wanted it to happen to him!)more
Interesting and funny. Highly enjoyablemore
Anansi Boys is the follow-up to gold standard of modern fantasy - American Gods. Anansi Boys is a fun modern fantasy but it is not genious. The story of Charles "Fat Charlie" Nancy and his relationship with his deceased father and long-lost brother is engaging and creative. As in American Gods, the gods and characters from fable have life in the world around us. One of thoe gods - Anansi - is Charles Nancy's father. Fat Charlie is a character adrift in modern society - hard working, diligent, uninspired. Anansi Boys is his story, and as much as anything it is about the growth Fat Charlie experiences thanks to the influence of those he meets. Fat Charlie's estranged relationship with his father, his unpleasant boss, his aggressive future mother-in-law all help to make Charlie a particularly easy character to empathise with. His is a warm and attractive character who develops in a very pleasing way. Charlie's father Anansi does not feature much in the book but it is a really excellent character description. It is a little odd for those readers who might have grown up with Anansi stories to have them transposed away from their place of origin and given slightly alien features but Anansi as a soft-shoe shuffling charmer enjoying the easy life is great. Charlie's brother Spider is the one who breaks open the narrative. Prior to Spider's arrival, the world is sane, senisble, and mundane. Spider is the sense of adventure and creativity that breathes life into the ongoing activities. He is designed as a contrast to Charlie but it is never that black and white. The conclusion of Spider's character arc is really disappointing in its lack of ambition and what Gaiman aspires to for him but Spider is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The women of Anansi Boys are all a bit weird. The old crones in Florida are a nice take on the cabal and Callyanne Higgler in particular is entertaining, easily helped by her well constructed name which places her so easily in the reader's mind. Miss Dinwiddie is a bit of an archetype but she serves the story well as the source of much of the old wisdom and current tension Fat Charlie discovers. Of the two younger women, Rosie gets most of the coverage but as a paragon she is really not very interesting. Daisy is far more intriguing a character but she does not earn as many words. Daisy's parental backstory is the kind of aside that makes a book like this really good to read. The nationality of her parents is that extra touch of excellence and the combination of ultra capitalist Hong Kong and communist Ethiopia makes for an amusing reference point that presumably Gaiman meant to include. Maeve Livingstone and her affection for her husband Morris is a lovely character. Anansi Boys is not though a work of genious. The dialogue is very clunky at times. In particular, Gaiman appears to have great difficulty describing the dialect of the Caribbean. The various West Indians and Floridians indicate their ethnicity mainly by swapping "are" for "is" as in "I is". While this may be a feature of the particular dialect, there is no roundness or believability to their use of language. This is probably because Gaiman does not offer the kind of insightful description of their speech to make up for the poor dialogue itself. Far too many of the characters have a distinctly British voice - the worst culprit is Tiger. This menacing force is built-up throughout the book as a fearsome physical representation of fear and dread. His foppish use of British English such as "Frankly...we appear to be stuck together" is the kind of understated Britishness that works very well for Hugh Grant characters but not for the personification of violence that is Tiger. Equally, Dragon is a strange character who seems to exist for one joke. Dragon is a raging beast who when foiled describes his circumstance with a menacing "Bother". Dragon should not be middle class English in any way. Dragons appear in many cultures of the world but really hardly in English tradition at all which makes Gaiman's Anglicising and class identifying of this character just horribly lazy. What works extremely well about Modern Fantasy is when it is believable. A couple of lazy mistakes make disbelief a little harder. Gaiman clearly is not at all familiar with the Caribbean islands because St Andrews is not a viable name for an island. There are no single islands in the Caribbean with a plural name ending in English. Maxwell Gardens is a surprisingly rare name for a street in London but Gaiman really doesn't make the street identifiable so probably has never been to Maxwell Gardens. That oversight is perhaps why Gaiman had to use the clumsy term "main road" when describing how close Fat Charlie is to his apartment on one difficult evening. These details are lacking often through the novel which is a shame. They are not important to the flow of the story which is still a fun read but do mean that it just isn't as believable. Where Gaiman references other works, it can work very well. The quote from Danny Glover's character in Lethal Weapon is an obvious but fun one. The reference to Kafka's Metamorphoses is one of the cleverest moments in Anansi Boys given the metamorphosing that some of the characters undertake. These and other references build the reality of the world the crazier events take place in. Other things are less impressive - Grahame Coats use of an Arnold J. Rimmer catchphrase does not fit the very different characters involved. The description of 'Binky' Butterworth's use of a very small lift is just a direct description of the lift scene in the home of Roger de Bris during The Producers. The lift is important for Gaiman's construction of a later event but it isn't especially creative to describe exactly a scene and character from another work without it being a reference point. Indeed, the entire story seems to have been "influenced" by a famous Chuck Palahniuk novel which was turned into an even more famous film. The line identifying the differences between Fat Charlie and Spider includes some of the exact same physical disparities in Palahniuk's pairing and that gives away what could possibly have been any kind of twist to the plotline. However, there is one clear moment of genious - the description of the meaning of folk tales is absolutely excellent. The role of Anansi stories in celebrating innovation and creativity are a hallmark of the key change in human history that occurs with the rise of pastoralist communities of Bantu in Africa. Gaiman's insight into the role that folklore plays is absolutely superb. The Headline Review publication does not do itself any favours at all with the additional material at the back of the book. The interview with Gaiman is a bit cringeworthy especially when Gaiman indirectly states that he is a genius. The suggested questions for book clubs are horribly academic. While it can be fun to realise at university that the way to pass exams is to state why the question being asked is incorrect, the questions here are far too dry and also full of assumptions. Book clubs are supposed to be fun. All in all, Anansi Boys is a fun story with a less complex plot than might appear in the early going. It has some nice characters, some of whom are very endearing. The use of ancient folktales is good. It isn't really a great example of modern fantasy and the dialogue in particular is at times terrible. This is a nice, easy going novel with a thought provoking folklore comment tucked inside but it is not a masterpiece and does not compare favourably to Gaiman's American Gods.more
Fat Charlie Nancy is a much put-upon man. In short order he discovers that his father was a god and that he has a brother. This is a fascinating, powerful novel. It takes a while to realise that almost every character is black.more
Fat Charlie Nancy learns quite a bit about his family after his father's embarrassing death in a karaoke bar. First, his father was a god. Second, Fat Charlie has a brother he never knew about.Sibling rivalry, love triangles, embezzlement, and a few miracles make this an entertaining enough read.more
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Reviews

3.25 stars“Fat” Charlie learns he has a long, lost brother, Spider, after his father dies. He also learns that his father was and his brother is a god. Unfortunately, it seems that finding Spider and bringing him into Fat Charlie’s life is creating very big problems - Spider is managing to mess up Fat Charlie’s life in very big ways. It was o.k. I’m not big into fantasy, but urban fantasy is more appealing. In this book, I found myself much more interested in the “urban” and far less interested in the “fantasy”. It was also pretty funny. I am adding on an extra quarter-star (and debated about adding a half-star) for the narrator of the audio (Lenny Harry), who is amazing!!! He does those different voices and multiple accents so very well. I love the voices of the old Caribbean women, especially.more
I have no idea why, but I didn't like this book anywhere near as much as American Gods. It's still interesting and fun to read, but... there's a different tone, definitely.more
I usually rate books just out of pure entertainment value, and this book was quite entertaining, which merits it a 3 to 3.5 star rating. But it gets bumped to a 4 because of the ending. It didn't feel rushed, it unfolded nicely and it felt worthwhile.more
It was fun, I know I enjoyed it, but now I come to review it I don't much remember what happened.more
I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time. I moved slowly up the library waiting list, and finally there it was in my hands at last. Which makes it all the more disappointing that this book failed to live up to my hopes. This is a harsh thing to say about a well-written book that's hilarious in spots, and poignant in others. I couldn't help comparing it with American Gods, and it falls sadly short. American Gods has haunted me since I first read it, several years ago. Anansi Boys made me smile, but didn't stick with me at all.more
No one blends the real and the fantastic like Neil Gaiman. The more I read of him, the more I believe he is one of our greatest living story-tellers.

Anansi Boys is a story of family, fable, and finding one's voice. Neil's own narrative voice is effortlessly captivating, as he weaves a tale as tight and multifaceted as a mischievous Spider's spindly web. His characters are full and loveable, his humor and sensibilities endearing, and his trademark spins of reality full of fun and hidden wisdom. Can't recommend this modern classic enough.more
Haven't read much Neil Gaiman, but will seek out some more.more
I don’t know why I put this down as a three initially. Obviously, it’s bumped up after subsequent rereadings.

I think it’s partially because Charlie reminds a little too much of Richard from Neverwhere at the beginning of this, as they’re both milquetoast characters who get thrown into the fantastical world. But while Richard just seems to accept everything that goes on in that book, Charlie does take charge of his situation and although he cocks up massively, Charlie does try to make things right. But for the beginning of the book, I’m not a fan of Charlie. I can relate to him and his boring life (and many of those Mitty-esque fantasies), but I don’t really warm up to him until he starts to man up. And aside from Mr. Nancy (because he’s one of my favorites from American Gods), the only character I really gelled to automatically was Daisy. She’s funny, I like her chemistry with Charlie and her natural desire to do right. Most every other character falls along the same lines of Charlie: okay, character, kind of bland and then starts getting better as the plot goes on. Although Maeve Livingstone is pretty awesome anytime that she shows up.

This could really be taken as the lighter and softer version of American Gods, as it touches on some of the same general themes (including one that’s a big massive spoiler). It’s more of a side story exploring the larger aspects of that universe, and I like that this is a more personal story than the American epic. And to people who think that Good Omens is only funny because of Terry Pratchett, read this to be proven wrong. Gaiman’s been funny, and this is hysterical while Gaiman retains his general style. The part where Spider is being attacked by murderous birds, but then you add murderous penguins and flamingos.

I do like this book a lot, but I really wouldn’t recommend to start with when going into Gaiman for the first time. It’s more accessible, but it’s not very representative of his work as a whole. I’d actually say start with American Gods and then moving on to this.
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This little book ended up being fun, although, for some reason, I wasn't keen on the plot at first (as read on various forums/summaries). It took some time getting in, because the reader does not see the various characters' connections to each others, but, like a spider's web, they end up joining and making sense towards the end. The characters become likeable the more they get into the action, whereas the early characterisation could easily fall into stereotyping. While I'd say I prefer Gaiman's novellas or graphic novels, this one ties in well with the other 'American Gods' novel, as there are gods too. A good read, but not Gaiman's best.more
One of the things I really appreciate about the Neil Gaiman books I've read (well, the grown-up ones, which are this one and American Gods) is that they're not overtly sexual. Sex happens in them, but there's none of the awkward knowledge that someone sat down and decided which words to use for which body parts, imagined this particular scenario, and now is passing this particular, specific fantasy to me via the words on the page.

Maybe it's just me, but I find that weird.

So, I like that Gaiman lets suggestion and innuendo do the work for him. It gets the job done and doesn't weird me out. Call me a prude if you like; it wouldn't be the first time. At least not my first time. (See...like that.)

Even aside from the non-awkward sexual references, this was a good story and the writing was solid. The characters were complex and I loved the way Gaiman played with language, between the dialects and the excellent stoat references. I listened to part of this on audiobook while crocheting a scarf, and Lenny Henry's command of accents really enhanced the experience (until I started wondering why I was sitting with a ball of wool in my lap in unseasonably warm spring weather listening to a story set largely in tropical climates and I switched back to the large-print version that was all they had left at the library when I went to check out the book).

One idea I really liked was that people reflect the art around them.

"People take on the shapes of the songs and the stories that surround them, especially if they don't have their own."

Which is a good reason to avoid television, I think. That was kind of implied in the Grahame Coats character, with all of the cliches he uses and references to crime dramas and reality police shows. These were the stories that surrounded him and that shaped him. And I suppose you'll just have to read the book to see where that got him. I appreciate that Gaiman seems to lean towards writing the kind of story by which I don't mind being shaped.

Like I was saying, though, it was good, but it didn't capture my imagination the way American Gods did. It seemed a little too neat (neat in the "not messy" sense). And all of the transatlantic flights kind of wore on me. I don't enjoy flying, even in novels.more
It starts out as funny as something by Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. While the humor declines a bit as the tale goes on, the enjoyment remains.--J.more
It has its moments; it's mostly fun, but nothing special enough to make me care about it. The two main characters are irritatingly unpleasant, which for me makes this easily the worst Gaiman book I've read.more
I liked this book better than American Gods, although the subject is related, I preferred the smaller scale of Anansi Boys. It felt like American Gods tried to fit an enormous amount of material and territory into one story. This book feels more intimate and comfortable in scale and style, and I think it's a more engaging story.more
Fat Charlie Nancy is an ordinary guy, living an ordinary life in London. Stuck in a miserable accounting job run by a thief and married to an ordinary girl named Rosie, who has a horrible mother, Fat Charlie seems content enough with life. Finding out that his estranged father has died back in Florida, Fat Charlie ends up meeting Spider, the brother he never knew he had. Spider quickly decides that he doesn’t mind Fat Charlie’s life either and decides to take it over. A decision that takes Fat Charlie down a rabbit hole filled with alternate planes of reality, an encounter with an aggrieved Tiger, a mentally unstable bird woman and a little crime fighting in the Caribbean. Anansi Boys is a funny, fantastical read that is long on imagination.more
As he is preparing for his upcoming wedding, Fat Charlie Nancy’s father passes away. When Fat Charlie reluctantly attends his father’s funeral he discovers that his father is Anansi, the Spider god of Africa. Anansi is also a god of telling stories and naming things, something he happened to steal from another ancient African god, Tiger. Charlie also discovers that he has a brother Spider, who has inherited their father’s godly abilities and magic. Fat Charlie life begins to spin out of control as Spider comes to stay with him to get to know him better. A series of events send the brothers on a series of adventures that change both their lives. This is a wonderful book—another winner by Neil Gaiman. He has created a complex family story—in the environment of fantasy, mythology and comedy. Five stars out of five.more
[Anansi Boys] by [[Neil Gaiman]]Finished 6/21/12After reading [American Gods] for the second time, I realized I should probably try diversify. This tale didn't disappoint. I read the last 200 pages in one day - while making an effort to take breaks.[Anansi Boys] picks up from American Gods by taking one of its side characters, Mr. Nancy, and creating a story about his family. Specifically his son, Fat Charlie, a man who is content with his non-quite-content life. Like Shadow in the other novel, Fat Charlie starts dealing with gods and finds out how far his ability to believe will take him.Overall, a better-told story than American Gods, though less conceptually interesting."Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew..." (45)more
Neil Gaiman is an absolute master. Anansi Boys is breathtaking. After finishing the book yesterday, I have tried to find some level or angle that is worth at least token criticism. No luck. The reader marvels at the switches that take place in story from modern to legend to myth - each setting as realistic and compelling as the one before. As you close the book, you think "It worked."more
Fat Charlie is meek and spends his life trying not to get noticed so he won't be embarrassed. When his fiance learns that his father is still living, she insists that they invite Anansi to the wedding even though Fat Charlie does not want to see him. When Fat Charlie tries to find his father Anansi, he finds out that he's just died. At the funeral, Fat Charlie finds out from old neighbors that he had a brother. Fat Charlie calls to his brother by asking a spider.Anansi, one of the most popular characters in West African and Caribbean folklore, is the trickster spider. Anansi is smart and funny and all stories belong to him.In Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman creates his own version of how Anansi got his stories and what happens to his bloodline after he dies. Part folktale, part magic, the story is all fun. This is my first Neil Gaiman book, and I will definitely be reading another.more
Good, flowing, book. In a way prefer it to American Gods. The fantasy and texture of the world is typical Gaiman, bit too much at times but ultimately entertaining read.more
This was my first Neil Gaimen novel and I now appreciate why he is so well loved. His prose is elegant and imaginative. The characters draw you in, and his description of fantastical worlds come alive in the mind.Anansi Boys is the story of two brothers. One, named Spider, is a pseudo-god who has no trouble living like he's above mere mortal concerns. This is true for the most part. The other, nicknamed Fat Charlie, is a timid average joe who has never heard of his brother Spider nor his godly ancestry.The story begins at a slow pace as the paltry life of Fat Charlie is established. I was more and more intrigued as the book progressed, and by the end I was plesantly surprised how everything came together for a strong finish.more
A bit of a slog at the start but picked up as it went along and tied up all the characters nicely at the end. Fat Charlie finds out that the animal gods of legend are real and their stories are intertwined with life. Not a great book but entertaining enough.more
This is a fun and quick read; more magic than SciFi.more
This mix of folktale and modern life and magic has a quirky playfulness to it. Underneath are strands of violence and dishonesty and envy. What I enjoyed most was seeing Fat Charlie cast off his embarrassment and conventionality and become more authentically himself. I also liked the juxtaposition of the "tiger" with the "spider" and all that these two characters stood for. It was a nice melding of real life and fantasy.more
I read American Gods a few years ago and found the concept interesting, but never connected to the characters. I was told at the time, Anansi Boys was better.Yes and no.Gaiman is a brilliant writer, no question, but for several reasons this book didn't connect for me. The characters are fully realized, yet the main characters--Fat Charlie and Spider--are rather unlikeable. Fat Charlie is a hapless everyman, and Spider is every bit a trickster god's son. Following Fat Charlie is a bit like watching an episode of The Flintstones, where you know Fred will do something stupid, and all you can do is cringe. The plot threads also come together in a bizarrely tidy way at the end.I appreciate the writing, but this book just isn't a keeper for me.more
A good, but not a great book. The story was entertaining, but the characters did not draw me into it.more
I have really enjoyed this book. It was witty and adventurous and I never really knew where it was going. (Although what happened to Grahame Coats wasn't that unexpected, you still really wanted it to happen to him!)more
Interesting and funny. Highly enjoyablemore
Anansi Boys is the follow-up to gold standard of modern fantasy - American Gods. Anansi Boys is a fun modern fantasy but it is not genious. The story of Charles "Fat Charlie" Nancy and his relationship with his deceased father and long-lost brother is engaging and creative. As in American Gods, the gods and characters from fable have life in the world around us. One of thoe gods - Anansi - is Charles Nancy's father. Fat Charlie is a character adrift in modern society - hard working, diligent, uninspired. Anansi Boys is his story, and as much as anything it is about the growth Fat Charlie experiences thanks to the influence of those he meets. Fat Charlie's estranged relationship with his father, his unpleasant boss, his aggressive future mother-in-law all help to make Charlie a particularly easy character to empathise with. His is a warm and attractive character who develops in a very pleasing way. Charlie's father Anansi does not feature much in the book but it is a really excellent character description. It is a little odd for those readers who might have grown up with Anansi stories to have them transposed away from their place of origin and given slightly alien features but Anansi as a soft-shoe shuffling charmer enjoying the easy life is great. Charlie's brother Spider is the one who breaks open the narrative. Prior to Spider's arrival, the world is sane, senisble, and mundane. Spider is the sense of adventure and creativity that breathes life into the ongoing activities. He is designed as a contrast to Charlie but it is never that black and white. The conclusion of Spider's character arc is really disappointing in its lack of ambition and what Gaiman aspires to for him but Spider is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The women of Anansi Boys are all a bit weird. The old crones in Florida are a nice take on the cabal and Callyanne Higgler in particular is entertaining, easily helped by her well constructed name which places her so easily in the reader's mind. Miss Dinwiddie is a bit of an archetype but she serves the story well as the source of much of the old wisdom and current tension Fat Charlie discovers. Of the two younger women, Rosie gets most of the coverage but as a paragon she is really not very interesting. Daisy is far more intriguing a character but she does not earn as many words. Daisy's parental backstory is the kind of aside that makes a book like this really good to read. The nationality of her parents is that extra touch of excellence and the combination of ultra capitalist Hong Kong and communist Ethiopia makes for an amusing reference point that presumably Gaiman meant to include. Maeve Livingstone and her affection for her husband Morris is a lovely character. Anansi Boys is not though a work of genious. The dialogue is very clunky at times. In particular, Gaiman appears to have great difficulty describing the dialect of the Caribbean. The various West Indians and Floridians indicate their ethnicity mainly by swapping "are" for "is" as in "I is". While this may be a feature of the particular dialect, there is no roundness or believability to their use of language. This is probably because Gaiman does not offer the kind of insightful description of their speech to make up for the poor dialogue itself. Far too many of the characters have a distinctly British voice - the worst culprit is Tiger. This menacing force is built-up throughout the book as a fearsome physical representation of fear and dread. His foppish use of British English such as "Frankly...we appear to be stuck together" is the kind of understated Britishness that works very well for Hugh Grant characters but not for the personification of violence that is Tiger. Equally, Dragon is a strange character who seems to exist for one joke. Dragon is a raging beast who when foiled describes his circumstance with a menacing "Bother". Dragon should not be middle class English in any way. Dragons appear in many cultures of the world but really hardly in English tradition at all which makes Gaiman's Anglicising and class identifying of this character just horribly lazy. What works extremely well about Modern Fantasy is when it is believable. A couple of lazy mistakes make disbelief a little harder. Gaiman clearly is not at all familiar with the Caribbean islands because St Andrews is not a viable name for an island. There are no single islands in the Caribbean with a plural name ending in English. Maxwell Gardens is a surprisingly rare name for a street in London but Gaiman really doesn't make the street identifiable so probably has never been to Maxwell Gardens. That oversight is perhaps why Gaiman had to use the clumsy term "main road" when describing how close Fat Charlie is to his apartment on one difficult evening. These details are lacking often through the novel which is a shame. They are not important to the flow of the story which is still a fun read but do mean that it just isn't as believable. Where Gaiman references other works, it can work very well. The quote from Danny Glover's character in Lethal Weapon is an obvious but fun one. The reference to Kafka's Metamorphoses is one of the cleverest moments in Anansi Boys given the metamorphosing that some of the characters undertake. These and other references build the reality of the world the crazier events take place in. Other things are less impressive - Grahame Coats use of an Arnold J. Rimmer catchphrase does not fit the very different characters involved. The description of 'Binky' Butterworth's use of a very small lift is just a direct description of the lift scene in the home of Roger de Bris during The Producers. The lift is important for Gaiman's construction of a later event but it isn't especially creative to describe exactly a scene and character from another work without it being a reference point. Indeed, the entire story seems to have been "influenced" by a famous Chuck Palahniuk novel which was turned into an even more famous film. The line identifying the differences between Fat Charlie and Spider includes some of the exact same physical disparities in Palahniuk's pairing and that gives away what could possibly have been any kind of twist to the plotline. However, there is one clear moment of genious - the description of the meaning of folk tales is absolutely excellent. The role of Anansi stories in celebrating innovation and creativity are a hallmark of the key change in human history that occurs with the rise of pastoralist communities of Bantu in Africa. Gaiman's insight into the role that folklore plays is absolutely superb. The Headline Review publication does not do itself any favours at all with the additional material at the back of the book. The interview with Gaiman is a bit cringeworthy especially when Gaiman indirectly states that he is a genius. The suggested questions for book clubs are horribly academic. While it can be fun to realise at university that the way to pass exams is to state why the question being asked is incorrect, the questions here are far too dry and also full of assumptions. Book clubs are supposed to be fun. All in all, Anansi Boys is a fun story with a less complex plot than might appear in the early going. It has some nice characters, some of whom are very endearing. The use of ancient folktales is good. It isn't really a great example of modern fantasy and the dialogue in particular is at times terrible. This is a nice, easy going novel with a thought provoking folklore comment tucked inside but it is not a masterpiece and does not compare favourably to Gaiman's American Gods.more
Fat Charlie Nancy is a much put-upon man. In short order he discovers that his father was a god and that he has a brother. This is a fascinating, powerful novel. It takes a while to realise that almost every character is black.more
Fat Charlie Nancy learns quite a bit about his family after his father's embarrassing death in a karaoke bar. First, his father was a god. Second, Fat Charlie has a brother he never knew about.Sibling rivalry, love triangles, embezzlement, and a few miracles make this an entertaining enough read.more
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