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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
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Anansi Boys (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Neil Gaiman

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14,312313141 (3.94)294
Member:lisacharlotte18
Title:Anansi Boys
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:HarperTorch (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2005)

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English (304)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (311)
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
I wish I'd picked up this book sooner instead of letting my prejudices prevents me from doing so. I consider myself a Gaiman fan, but I hadn't at all enjoyed American Gods, and though I'd been told this one was quite different, still dawdled. But truly, other than the god theme, the two book have nothing in common and ought not to be part of the same series. When "Fat Charlie" Nancy, finds out his father, who has been a source of deep shame and embarrassment all his life has passed away, he also finds out this same father was a god. Originally born in Florida but now long living in London, saddled with that name of "Fat Charlie" by his father, even though he is not actually fat because of the old man's gift for making names stick to people and animals, Charlie if forced to travel to Florida to his father's funeral, whereupon meeting some of his father's old friends he finds out these uncomfortable details about his past. It seems he was a Spider god who owned all the stories and had certain abilities to bend reality. Strong echoes of mythology and of Aesop's fables here, as tends to be Gaiman's speciality. He further learns that he has a brother who inherited all the godly gifts in the family and who disappeared from Charlie's life when he was a small child, called Spider, and all he needs do to have him come to him is ask a spider for him. Charlie has so far led a quiet life working for a talent management agency as an accountant and is engaged to soon be married to his lovely Rosie. But after speaking to a spider one drunken night, his world soon turns upside down. Spider shows up in London out of nowhere and takes over Charlie's life, impersonating him at him job and with Rosie and suddenly, Fat Charlie's life, which was only vaguely dissatisfying before is now a living hell. Spider has uncovered serious irregularities at the talent agency and confronted Fat Charlie's boss Grahame Coats with his findings, which involve the diversion of huge sums from the accounts of their semi-famous clients to offshore accounts. Pretty soon, Graham Coats is fighting back by pinning the financial irregularities on Charlie and leaving for an island hideaway under and assumed identity, but not before leaving a dead body behind. To add insult to injury, Spider has taken a liking to Rosie, and where the young woman has always insisted she would not indulge in sex before marriage, her resolve has melted for this new version of Charlie, who, thanks to his god status, can make people see what he wants them to see.

It all seems deeply unlikely told like that, but in Neil Gaiman's hands, this all somehow comes into the realm of possibility and the melding of fantasy, murder mystery and romance is an irresistible mix, especially when you throw in Gaiman's sharp writing skills and wittiness. I think what won me over best of all was this audio version read by Lenny Henry, who did a masterful job of interpreting all the different characters and switched between the various accents; Charlie's London accent, Spider's American and the soft Caribbean lilt as needed. I was often comparing this story to what I like best about the more recent Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch, narrated on audio by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Both stories have realistic urban setting and nature Gods and both black narrators have huge talent and make the writing truly come alive. Highly recommended. ( )
  Smiler69 | Jul 23, 2014 |
Anansi Boys
By Neil Gaiman
Narrated by Lenny Henry
(P) 2005, Harper Audio
10.1 hours

"Fat Charlie" Nancy is a rather unprepossessing guy. He’s an accountant. He has a fiancée that he hasn’t slept with yet. He suffers from stage fright when confronted with a karaoke mic. When things get rough there’s nothing more than he’s like to do than find succor with a bit of goat curry and a cup of tea. But when his unrepentantly flamboyant father passes away, Charlie travels from his home in England back to Florida for the funeral. From there on out, Fat Charlie discovers things about his family, his brother in particular, and especially himself that are harrowingly frightening, funny and amazing all at the same time. This story is Afro-Caribbean in nature and feels very different from Gaiman’s usual style of weird, drippy, wet London. The story dazzles with bright sunshine, flashes with slick and clever dialogue, and echoes with the rhythms of ancient drum beats from West Africa. But Gaiman’s trademark other-world-that-is-nowhere, a land where reality has a rather tenuous grip and is fascinating for its strangeness is still here in the form of a dreamlike place where the world begins and ancient folkloric figures inhabit.

Lenny Henry (Dawn French’s now ex-husband) is the British narrator who reflects the world beats of the story with relative facility: The English accents (natch) of Fat Charlie and other UK characters, and the smooth American voice of Fat Charlie’s brother in particular. While I wouldn’t say all his character voices (i.e. the older figures in the story) were on the mark, the rest of the cast, men and women alike, were well delineated without resorting to overly/extreme comic interpretations. There were a couple places where I didn’t catch a word; but overall, well paced, clear, and entertaining. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Jul 9, 2014 |
This is my first Gaiman, or the Gaister as I like to refer to him as, book written solely by him. (Good Omens, if you're curious.) And I'm impressed.

At first, I just felt really bad for Fat Charlie (I think we all have embarrassing parents, but his takes the cake!)...but, then as the web of the story began to play out, I couldn't put the book down!

This is a book that I am going to think about for awhile....and that's a good thing. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
This is my first Gaiman, or the Gaister as I like to refer to him as, book written solely by him. (Good Omens, if you're curious.) And I'm impressed.

At first, I just felt really bad for Fat Charlie (I think we all have embarrassing parents, but his takes the cake!)...but, then as the web of the story began to play out, I couldn't put the book down!

This is a book that I am going to think about for awhile....and that's a good thing. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Gaiman shuffles a step closer to dark comedy in this likeable tale of the spruce, storytelling spider god Anansi, & of his 2 brats crawling toward maturity & wisdom. ( )
  nielspeterqm | Jul 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 304 (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.)
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References to this work on external resources.

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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