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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
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Anansi Boys (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Neil Gaiman

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14,434318139 (3.94)303
Member:Nymeth
Title:Anansi Boys
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:Headline Review (2005), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fantasy, Humour

Work details

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2005)

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English (309)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (316)
Showing 1-5 of 309 (next | show all)
I've never been completely sold on Neil Gaiman's writings. I thought Stardust was a really odd mixture of fairy tale and grown up writing, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was overhyped and more of a easy read than anything to rave about.

But I think there's always something that brings me back to try his books again. And I think Anansi Boys has that similar feel. It's a mixture of grown up writing and tales for children. But it is good.

I honestly was frustrated for the entire first half of the book. Gaiman does a great job garnering sympathy and pity and a teeny bit of disgust for the main character Fat Charlie. He seems slow-witted and dull, incapable of almost any job, etc. And then I got even angrier when Spider came along. What a complete bastard, really. Oh, let me just kiss your fiance and overstay my welcome.

Then the book transitions into "character growth" and "brotherly bonding!". Let me tell you, I am not sold on how quickly these characters change. As if Spider really starts to love Rosie - what? he treats her like any other woman, so why does she make such a big impact? As if Charlie can suddenly go from not realizing he's being framed to more cunning than other animals. As if Spider suddenly starts to feel contrite. I was actually rooting for Charlie when he calls for Bird Woman to make Spider go away. Because honestly, if that never happened, would Spider even get a wake up call and be slightly more cognizant of the fact there are other people in the world besides himself?
And nowhere do we understand how suddenly Charlie gains spider powers.
Frustrating characters.

What was the point of the Bird Woman besides creating plot? She essentially had no true intrinsic motive that was explain.

I also don't buy the idea that Anansi made the world a better place through taking the stories for himself. Especially setting up the stage with little stories about he ate all of his family's peas and left his own family to starve. It just makes for a feel-good ending where "good guys" win. I'm just annoyed that the book tries to play up both sides: that Anansi was neither good nor evil and was fairy selfish like a kid, but also that the good guys win at the end. Because that is how the book tries to end it in the last few chapters. You can't write for both sides and expect me to believe you.

I almost wish that Charlie didn't end up suave with a jaunty little green fedora hat. As much as the initial doormat Fat Charlie was pitiable and sad and nobody in the world would want to be him, he was
a good character. It almost seems too easy to give Charlie spider powers and all that confidence because there is no real defining moment.

I will say that this book (and other Gaiman books) are absolutely fantastic at weaving bits and pieces from the beginning into the main story. Tidbits that you think are not important are later revealed in all their glory their true meaning. For example, the bit about the dream of his father telling Charlie about two pieces of a starfish... Lovely. Really lovely.

I also really enjoyed the lime. Because it was hilarious.

That is all.

It was a good book. I was contemplating giving it 3.5 stars because of how interwoven the entire book was, but then I decided I really can't forgive the strange character transitions. So it's just 3 stars. No more, no less.

note: This book vaguely reminds me of American Gods, with tricky gods and interesting revelations. So recommended for those who like that book. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I didn't like the first 35 pages or so. Gaimen takes too long to get the story set up. Things start to get intersting once Charlie learns about Spider. The little parables at the end of some chapters are worth skipping as well as they break the flow of the story. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 11, 2014 |
It is pretty remarkable that Neil Gaiman has written a book in which most of the main characters are black -- and nobody seems to notice!
  sonofcarc | Aug 28, 2014 |


The audiobook was an awesome performance. ( )
  lunule | Aug 22, 2014 |
Delightful, fun read. The more I read Neil Gaiman the more I want to read Neil Gaiman... ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 309 (next | show all)
Gaiman kutoo tapansa mukaan sujuvan ja houkuttelevan kertomuksen, joka ammentaa tarinoiden ja myyttien maailmasta. Sujuvan lukukokemuksen viimeistelee onnistunut suomennos.

Gaimaniin mieltyneille Hämähäkkijumala on puolipakollinen kirjahyllyn täyte ja kevytfantasiaa hakeville ihan yhtä hyvä tutustumiskirja kuin mikä tahansa varhaisempi romaani. Vaikka kirjan juoni ei juuri yllätäkään, Gaiman esittelee tarinankertojan lahjaansa: kykyä tehdä mahdottomasta todenmakuista.
added by msaari | editKeskisuomalainen, Riku Ylönen (Jan 30, 2009)
 
And Charlie, who has become a successful singer and fathered a son, has come to terms with the powers and responsibilities of ''a boy who was half a god," having learned what Gaiman knows better, and communicates more forcefully, than any other contemporary writer: Stories and poems, songs and myths, represent us, sustain and complete us, and survive us, while also ensuring that all that's best in us survives with them.
added by stephmo | editBoston Globe, Bruce Allen (Nov 20, 2005)
 
The focus on Anansi and tricksters, I think, goes a long way towards explaining the tone of this novel. It really feels more like some of the established "funny" sci-fi/fantasy authors (like Gaiman's Good Omens co-author Terry Pratchett) than "classic" Neil.
added by stephmo | editPopMatters, Stephen Rauch (Nov 7, 2005)
 
The problem in "Anansi Boys" is the type of fantasy Gaiman has chosen. The tales of Anansi outwitting his foes leave you feeling you've eaten something heavy and sugary. There's an Uncle Remus folksiness to the stories that sends the airy blitheness of the farce plummeting down to earth.

There is also, I regret to say, the warm hand of instruction lying uneasily on this tale. Charlie works through his ineffectualness and his family issues to find happiness, contentment and - ugh - acceptance. It leaves you with the uncomfortable feeling that for Gaiman, farce by itself would simply have been too frivolous, that he feels the need to impart a lesson.
 
Anansi Boys contains a couple of traditional-style Anansi fables, and the book itself takes a similar ambling but wry, pointed tone; like any good Anansi story, it's about cleverness, appetite, and comeuppance, and it's funny in a smart, inclusive way. And like any good Gaiman book, it's about the places where the normal world and a fantastic one intersect, and all the insightful things they have to say about each other.
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Henry, LennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
You know how it is, you pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you.
Not this time.
Because we haven't yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven't seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other ....
This one's for you.
With you know what, and you probably know why.
NOTE: The author would like to take this opportunity to tip his hat respectfully to the ghosts of Zora Neale Hurston, Thorne Smith, P.G. Wodehouse, and Frederick "Tex" Avery.
First words
It begins, as most things begin, with a song.
Quotations
The beast made the noise of a cat being shampooed, a lonely wail of horror and outrage, of shame and defeat.
"The ties of blood," said Spider, "Are stronger than water."

"Water's not strong," objected Fat Charlie.
"Stronger than vodka, then. Or volcanoes".
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Set in the same world as American Gods, but not a sequel to it.



In Anansi Boys we discover that 'Mr. Nancy' (Anansi) has two sons, and the two sons in turn discover each other. The novel follows their adventures as they explore their common heritage.
Haiku summary
Moral of the book

can't be: In order to find

yourself, wear a hat.

(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060515198, Mass Market Paperback)

Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn't know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother.

Now brother Spider's on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie's life more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:53 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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."… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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