Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys

4.3 287
by Neil Gaiman

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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…  See more details below


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 to 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; he is able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, baffle the devil, and cheat Death himself.

Exciting, scary, and deeply funny, ANANSI BOYS is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth, a wild adventure, and a fierce and unstoppable farce, as Neil Gaiman shows us where gods come from, and how to survive your family.

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Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Anansi Boys, a sequel of sorts to Neil Gaiman's Hugo- and Nebula Award–winning American Gods, revolves around a prudish guy named Fat Charlie -- the unwitting son of the spider-trickster god Anansi -- who, after finding out about the death of his estranged father, meets the brother he never knew he had: and watches as his orderly life devolves into supernaturally induced chaos.

Fat Charlie's life in London is anything but remarkable. Though he works in a dead-end job for a despicable boss who resembles "an albino ferret in an expensive suit" and dates a woman whose mother hates him, Fat Charlie's bland existence takes a dramatic turn when he is summoned to Florida for his father's funeral. The trouble starts when Fat Charlie meets his brother, Spider -- who evidently received all his father's charm, wit, and wild sense of adventure. When Spider shows up in London and seduces his brother's fiancée, Fat Charlie reluctantly begins a journey of self-discovery that leads him to the very beginnings of the world, where the oldest -- and most powerful -- stories reside…

Although Gaiman himself had difficulty classifying the genre-transcending Anansi Boys (he called it a "a magical-horror-thriller-ghost-romantic-comedy-family-epic"), this myth- and folklore-powered fantasy combines the magic realism of Charles de Lint's Newford sequence and the rich African storytelling traditions of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart with the allegories of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Fans of the intense and unsettling American Gods will enjoy this lighter -- yet equally thought-provoking -- look at the influence of myth. Paul Goat Allen

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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Anansi Boys

By Neil Gaiman

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Neil Gaiman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060515198

Chapter One

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 the power of songs.

There are other things you can do with songs. They do not only make worlds or recreate existence. Fat Charlie Nancy's father, for example, was simply using them to have what he hoped and expected would be a marvelous night out.

Before Fat Charlie's father had come into the bar, the barman had been of the opinion that the whole karaoke evening was going to be an utter bust; but then the little old man had sashayed intothe room, walked past the table of several blonde women with the fresh sunburns and smiles of tourists, who were sitting by the little makeshift stage in the corner. He had tipped his hat to them, for he wore a hat, a spotless green fedora, and lemon-yellow gloves, and then he walked over to their table. They giggled.

"Are you enjoyin' yourselves, ladies?" he asked.

They continued to giggle and told him they were having a good time, thank you, and that they were here on vacation. He said to them, it gets better, just you wait.

He was older than they were, much, much older, but he was charm itself, like something from a bygone age when fine manners and courtly gestures were worth something. The barman relaxed. With someone like this in the bar, it was going to be a good evening.

There was karaoke. There was dancing. The old man got up to sing, on the makeshift stage, not once, that evening, but twice. He had a fine voice, and an excellent smile, and feet that twinkled when he danced. The first time he got up to sing, he sang "What's New Pussycat?" The second time he got up to sing, he ruined Fat Charlie's life.

Fat Charlie was only ever fat for a handful of years, from shortly before the age of ten, which was when his mother announced to the world that if there was one thing she was over and done with (and if the gentleman in question had any argument with it he could just stick it you know where) it was her marriage to that elderly goat that she had made the unfortunate mistake of marrying and she would be leaving in the morning for somewhere a long way away and he had better not try to follow, to the age of fourteen, when Fat Charlie grew a bit and exercised a little more. He was not fat. Truth to tell, he was not really even chubby, simply slightly soft-looking around the edges. But the name Fat Charlie clung to him, like chewing gum to the sole of a tennis shoe. He would introduce himself as Charles or, in his early twenties, Chaz, or, in writing, as C. Nancy, but it was no use: the name would creep in, infiltrating the new part of his life just as cockroaches invade the cracks and the world behind the fridge in a new kitchen, and like it or not -- and he didn't -- he would be Fat Charlie again.

It was, he knew, irrationally, because his father had given him the nickname, and when his father gave things names, they stuck.

There was a dog who had lived in the house across the way, in the Florida street on which Fat Charlie had grown up. It was a chestnut-colored boxer, long-legged and pointy-eared with a face that looked like the beast had, as a puppy, run face-first into a wall. Its head was raised, its tail nub erect. It was, unmistakably, an aristocrat amongst canines. It had entered dog shows. It had rosettes for Best of Breed and for Best in Class and even one rosette marked Best in Show. This dog rejoiced in the name of Campbell's Macinrory Arbuthnot the Seventh, and its owners, when they were feeling familiar, called it Kai. This lasted until the day that Fat Charlie's father, sitting out on their dilapidated porch swing, sipping his beer, noticed the dog as it ambled back and forth across the neighbor's yard, on a leash that ran from a palm tree to a fence post.

"Hell of a goofy dog,"said Fat Charlie's father. "Like that friend of Donald Duck's. Hey Goofy."

And what once had been Best in Show suddenly slipped and shifted. For Fat Charlie, it was as if he saw the dog through his father's eyes, and darned if he wasn't a pretty goofy dog, all things considered. Almost rubbery.

It didn't take long for the name to spread up and down the street. Campbell's Macinrory Arbuthnot the Seventh's owners struggled with it, but they might as well have stood their ground and argued with a hurricane. Total strangers would pat the once proud boxer's head, and say, "Hello, Goofy. How's a boy?" The dog's owners stopped entering him in dog shows soon after that. They didn't have the heart. "Goofy-looking dog," said the judges.

Fat Charlie's father's names for things stuck. That was just how it was.

That was far from the worst thing about Fat Charlie's father.

There had been, during the years that Fat Charlie was growing up, a number of candidates for the worst thing about his father: his roving eye and equally as adventurous fingers, at least according to the young ladies of the area, who would complain to Fat Charlie's mother, and then there would be trouble; the little black cigarillos, which he called cheroots, which he smoked, the smell of which clung to everything he touched; his fondness for a peculiar shuffling form of tap dancing only ever fashionable, Fat Charlie suspected, for half an hour in Harlem in the 1920s; his total and invincible ignorance about current world affairs, combined with his apparent conviction that sitcoms were half-hour-long insights into the lives and struggles of real people. These, individually, as far as Fat Charlie was concerned, were none of them the worst thing about Fat Charlie's father, although each of them had contributed to the worst thing.

The worst thing about Fat Charlie's father was simply this: He was embarrassing.

Of course, everyone's parents are embarrassing. It goes with the territory. The nature of parents is to embarrass merely by existing, just as it is the nature of children of a certain age to cringe with embarrassment, shame, and mortification should their parents so much as speak to them on the street.

Fat Charlie's father, of course, had elevated this to an art form, and he rejoiced in it, just as he rejoiced in practical jokes, from the simple -- Fat Charlie would never forget the first time he had climbed into an apple-pie bed -- to the unimaginably complex.


Excerpted from Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Copyright © 2006 by Neil Gaiman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Stephen King
[Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any medium.

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Anansi Boys 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 283 reviews.
jpquibrera More than 1 year ago
Neil Gaiman delivers a resplandescent book that talks about pretty much everything. What I loved about this book was the fact that when you start reading it you think it's just an urban kind of story (the only thing the back cover says is that Charlie's father dies and he was supposed to be a God), and the more you read the more you discover what the story is about. It is fascinating: it's a wild, deep, touching story about magic, love, life, and everything you want to read about. Who would I recommend this book to? ANYONE! This book really is perfect, and if you haven't read it you're already missing a part of your heart. Trust me: "Anansi Boys" isn't at all what it seems - it's much, much more, and it changed my life. Neil Gaiman is now one of my favorite writers, his writing is so... gobsmackingly good! By the way, this book is so hilariously sarcastic sometimes that, when I was reading it at school, my teachers and classmates often asked me "are you actually laughing because of a book?", since I couldn't stop chortling and sometimes my laughs interrupted the teacher's lecture. It's just amazing. READ IT please. There's no alternative here: if you see "Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman, you BUY IT and you START READING as soon as possible. Believe me - it's worth every dollar, every minute of it.
JustSumGuyInNC More than 1 year ago
As other reviewers have said, this is the sequel to American Gods, which I have also read. This is far less dark than that book. The lead character is called "Fat Charlie" even though he is not fat. Frankly, that got to be annoying for me, but that's about the only negative criticism I would lay on the book. The story does weave in and out of the supernatural dream-like world that was in evidence in American Gods, and for me those sections were a bit tedious at times, but it was part of the flavor of the book and again not nearly as ominous as in the earlier book. If you enjoyed American Gods, you will enjoy Anansi Boys, quite possibly even more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading (and loving) 'American Gods' I picked up this one. I found I had a much harder time liking the characters...tho perhaps that was his intent. I stuck it out & ended up liking the book as a whole, but it didn't have the same pull for me that AG did.
misteranderson More than 1 year ago
This is my first read of Neil Gaiman. It was a quick and easy read. Gaiman's use of the English language makes it easy to visualize a scene. The scenes he creates tend to lead to some strange places. I liked the mixing o folklore and modern times. It led me to West African and Caribbean folklore and I will read more of Mr. Gaiman. If clever, descriptive, fantastic fiction is what you are into - this is a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining. Magical, romantic, suspenseful. Sibling rivalry at it's finest. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great sequel, Gaiman did it again.
Greystrider More than 1 year ago
This was my first Gaiman book. I enjoyed the casual approach and the crackling language but felt a little like a stone skipping along the surface of a pond: there was, I'm sure, profundity below the surface but it was never the author's intention to delve into it. That's not really a complaint, although I realize it sounds like one. This really was an enjoyable read. It just felt like a missed opportunity, as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very confusing story, but maybe i just didn't get it. if i had time, i'd reread it just to see if i could understand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good i suggest to those who enjoy action packed books
pkay More than 1 year ago
As usual, Neil Gaiman has created a wonderous world, very mysterious and somewhat dark. Excellent read and worth reading more than once. I highly recommend this to those who like offbeat fantasy.
DeDeFlowers More than 1 year ago
Anansi Boys is the follow-up to American Gods. Anansi Boys took me a little while to get into. I struggled through the first couple chapters, but after that I really got into it. This book is classic Gaiman. It's dark comedy and fantasy at its finest. You will love the characters and be wrapped up in the story until the very end! It is a great book for both fantasy lovers and non-lovers alike. It makes your imagination run wild.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Well written as all of Mr. Gaimans books are. Kept me reading lon after I should have turned out the lights. The characters are believable. The pplot well crafted.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
but disappointing after American Gods. Just not as much fun, not as engaging.
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MrRayne77 More than 1 year ago
I loved this novel. I really wish I had read American Gods prior. Loved every page, every scene. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great follow up read after American Gods while having a new feel of the same universe.