Summary and book reviews of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Anansi Boys

by Neil Gaiman

Anansi Boys
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 416 pages

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Book Summary

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."

Which is Mostly About
Names and Family Relationships


It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

In the beginning, after all, were the words, and they came with a tune. That was how the world was made, how the void was divided, how the lands and the stars and the dreams and the little gods and the animals, how all of them came into the world.

They were sung.

The great beasts were sung into existence, after the Singer had done with the planets and the hills and the trees and the oceans and the lesser beasts. The cliffs that bound existence were sung, and the hunting grounds, and the dark.

Songs remain. They last. The right song can turn an emperor into a laughing stock, can bring down dynasties. A song can last long after the events and the people in it are dust and dreams and gone. That's ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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With a smaller cast of central characters than American Gods, Gaiman is in his element with Anansi Boys. Stories that retell myths are two-a-penny but stories that flow with the gleeful confidence of Anansi Boys are much rarer.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (526 words).

Media Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Charles Taylor

Anansi Boys promises to have all the makings of first-rate farce...the problem...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.

The Washington Post Book World - Elizabeth Hand

With Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman's delightful, funny and affecting new novel, the bestselling author has scored the literary equivalent of a hole in one, employing the kind of self-assured storytelling that makes it all look so easy. One can imagine Gaiman's legion of fans putting down the book and rushing en masse to pen their own riffs on traditional folklore and contemporary pop culture. But it's hard to imagine anyone topping Anansi Boys.

Library Journal

Another lovely story as only Gaiman can tell it; necessary and recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

....The result, though less dazzling than American Gods, is even more moving. Intermittently lumpy and self-indulgent, but enormously entertaining throughout.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It's Gaiman's focus on Charlie and Charlie's attempts to return to normalcy that make the story so winning - along with gleeful, hurtling prose.

Booklist - Ray Olson

Starred Review. ...Gaiman, he's the folksy, witty, foolishly wise narrator to perfection, drawing us into the web he weaves as skillfully as any . . . spider.

Time Out - London

The most accomplished of Gaiman's novels . . . Urbane and sophisticated.

Reader Reviews

Abhi

Good read
The journey of Fat Charlie is one not worth missing.

Chris

Schoolkids Point of View
I thought it was very dry and didn't really like the plot..

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Beyond the Book

Neil Gaiman grew up in England and, although Jewish, attended Church of England schools, including Ardingly College, a boarding school in West Sussex (South of England).  During the early 1980s he worked as a journalist and book reviewer.  His first book was a biography of the band Duran Duran.  He moved from England to his wife's hometown in the American midwest several years ago. He and his family now live in a renovated Victorian farmhouse where (he says) his hobbies are writing things down, hiding, and talking about himself in the third person. 

In addition to American Gods, Anansi Boys and Coraline (a fantastically creepy book for children, particularly so in the audio version read by ...

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