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Anansi Boys (2005)

by Neil Gaiman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: American Gods (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,177465224 (3.94)1 / 424
Fiction. HTML:

When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, 20 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. Because 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. And all of a sudden, things start getting very interesting for Fat Charlie. Exciting, scary, and deeply funny, Anansi Boys is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth, a wild adventure, as Neil Gaiman shows us where gods come from, and how to survive your family.

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» See also 424 mentions

English (449)  Spanish (5)  German (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (462)
Showing 1-5 of 449 (next | show all)
Was für ein wunder-wunderbares Buch! Grandios gelesen von Stefan Kaminski. Ich würde am liebsten direkt wieder von vorne anfangen... ( )
  Katzenkindliest | Apr 23, 2024 |
This was a fantastic book. A lot of it reminded me of Douglas Adams, which is always a good thing, but it also had an interesting plot and pulled off a fantastic style. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this book is that it seamlessly shifts between viewpoints all the time, but all of the characters are interesting enough that I wasn't left disappointed when the focus shifted. Also, it was fast paced and every character's section was relatively short and closely integrated with the others so they all held my attention very well. I pretty much read it in one sitting. ( )
  mrbearbooks | Apr 22, 2024 |
I love the unflappability of British protagonists! No matter what you throw at them, they just "keep calm and carry on" - which is how our protagonist Charlie Nancy mostly reacts upon discovering, well into his young adulthood, that (1) his father was a god (Anansi, the notorious trickster spider god), (2) the old ladies next door are witches, and (3) he has a godlike twin brother that he never knew about ... until, that is, said brother starts taking certain inexcusable liberties with Charlie's home, his job, and his fiancé.

In this tale, Anansi is one of a pantheon of ancient animalistic gods who can appear in either animal or human form. While anthropologists would argue that we humans create gods in our image, Gaiman posits a world in which human culture is shaped by the gods whose stories we humans choose to tell. Thus a culture infused with Tiger stories becomes violent and predatory; a culture infused with Anansi stories becomes brash and playful.

The dramatic tension in the story comes from whether Tiger or Anansi will prevail in each of the storylines that artfully intersect along the way: will Charlie overcome his natural timidity and embrace his inner Anansi? Will Charlie's humorously villainous boss receive his comeuppance? Will love be enough to reign in the amoral excesses of Charlie's bro Spider? Will Charlie's fiancé Rosie find balance her relationship with her ferocious mother? Will Charlie be able to forgive Anansi for his many excesses and eccentricities as a father? Will Charlie and Spider reconcile?

Gaiman's infused all of this with lovely island overtones by casting the main characters (including Anansi) as Barbadian Brits, even arranging for the denouement to take place on the Barbadian island of St. Andrews. Not only does this add color to the narrative (his old lady neighbors are constantly referencing Barbadian foods, traditions, and beliefs) but it reinforces the magical realism of the text by infusing the story with a culture known for its fanciful mythology and rich storytelling tradition.

Add to this auspicious combination a cast of wonderfully eccentric characters (including a quartet of crotchety old ladies, a creepy birdwoman, a cliche-spouting baddie, and a duppy/ghost), some deliciously theatrical imagery (especially Charlie's trips into "god world") and Gaiman's characteristic wit, blend well, and enjoy this confection of a tale in which good triumphs over evil, Charlie finds his groove, and karaoke saves the world. What fun! ( )
  Dorritt | Apr 21, 2024 |
This has been around the house for years, I just picked it up and started reading a couple of days ago-- now finished. I really liked it-- the slow realization of what happened in their youth, the growth of both, the just desserts for their oppressors. ( )
  ehousewright | Jan 29, 2024 |
Most enjoyable continuation of the "American Gods" premise.
[Audiobook note: This is read by Lenny Henry, who was the star of the BBC show "Chef". He does a wonderful job.] ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 449 (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 (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, Neilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Henry, LennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hopkinson, NaloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mcginnis, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trueblood, HoustonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, FrancisIllustratorsecondary 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
Fat Charlie wondered what Rosie's mother would usually hear in a church. Probably just cries of "Back! Foul beast of Hell!" followed by gasps of "Is it alive?" and a nervous inquiry as to whether someone had remembered to bring the stakes and hammers. (Chapter 5)
"Your job is safe and sound. Safe as houses. As long as you remain the model of circumspection and discretion you have been so far."
"How safe are houses," asked Fat Charlie.
"Extremely safe."
"It's just that I read somewhere that most accidents occur in the home." (Chapter 5)
"The ties of blood," said Spider, "Are stronger than water."
"Water's not strong," objected Fat Charlie.
"Stronger than vodka, then. Or volcanoes". (Chapter 6)
The beast made the noise of a cat being shampooed, a lonely wail of horror and outrage, of shame and defeat. (Chapter 13)
"I figured even if there was a nuclear war, it would still leave radioactive cockroaches and your mum." (Chapter 14, Charlie speaking to Rosie)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Fiction. HTML:

When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, 20 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. Because 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. And all of a sudden, things start getting very interesting for Fat Charlie. Exciting, scary, and deeply funny, Anansi Boys is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth, a wild adventure, as Neil Gaiman shows us where gods come from, and how to survive your family.

.

No library descriptions found.

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)

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