American Gods/Anansi Boys (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

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Overview

Neil Gaiman's entertaining blends of light and dark fantasy have earned him legions of readers, and renown as one of the most talented writers working in contemporary fantastic fiction. This volume brings together two of his best-loved novels. American Gods is the story of Shadow, an ex-con and drifter who finds himself a pawn between the gods of antiquity and avatars of contemporary America's faith in indusry, wealth, and celebrity. Anansi Boys tells of Fat Charlie Nancy and Spider, the children of a modern...
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Overview

Neil Gaiman's entertaining blends of light and dark fantasy have earned him legions of readers, and renown as one of the most talented writers working in contemporary fantastic fiction. This volume brings together two of his best-loved novels. American Gods is the story of Shadow, an ex-con and drifter who finds himself a pawn between the gods of antiquity and avatars of contemporary America's faith in indusry, wealth, and celebrity. Anansi Boys tells of Fat Charlie Nancy and Spider, the children of a modern incarnation of the trickster god, Anansi, and their comic competition as the divinely endowed Spider attempts to one-up Charlie in virtually every aspect of his life. Full of humor and pathos, these two novels represent modern fantasy fiction at its finest.
 
American Gods/Anansi boys is one of Barnes & Noble's Collectible Editions classics. Each volume features authoritative texts by tthe world's greatest authors in exquisitely designed bonded leather bindings, with distinctive gilt edging and an attractive silk-ribbon bookmark. Decorative, durable, and collectible, these books offer hours of pleasure to readers young and old and are an indispensible cornerstone for every home library.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

This gorgeous leather-bound hardcover edition would be an attractive addition to any fantasy or literature library, but its arrival could not be more timely: This summer we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Neil Gaiman's Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods, universally acclaimed as a genre masterpiece. This sturdy, handsome volume also contains Gaiman's Anansi Boys, which features one of the most famous openings in modern fiction: "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."

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman
Novelist Neil Gaiman has sent a British businessman tumbling into a fantastic underworld and had a devil and angel comically conspiring to thwart the Apocalypse. He found his biggest success, though, in Death, Dreams and Destruction -- and the four other similarly named siblings who controlled the reins of the human race's emotional impulses in his graphic-novel series The Sandman, a wholesale rejuvenation of graphic fiction that had everyone from Tori Amos to Norman Mailer spinning with, yes, Delirium.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I've heard tons of great stuff about Neil Gaiman, though I was a

    I've heard tons of great stuff about Neil Gaiman, though I was a little skeptic, as I'm not really used to modern literature (and especially not sci-fi). But I loved it! He has a refreshing ''uncensored'' style of writing, and I enjoyed it very much.

    American Gods
    I was surprised when the book was about a man that had just been released out of prison, but I guess that's just how things are. He lost his wife and pal (who also was his employer), so he had nothing. But then this mysterious guy called Wednesday who knows who he is offers him a job, and after a while he accepts. They travel around to lots of places, and it really is a wild ride. The little stories about ''Coming To America'' are quite entertaining breaks in the story. There were a lot of Norse gods and Pagan gods as well, which I as a Norwegian and a Wiccan found very fun and interesting.

    Anansi Boys
    This one is about a man named Charlie, a Florida man now living in England with his fiancee, Rosie. While planning for their wedding, and Charlie not wanting to contact his father who embarrassed him a lot as a child, Rosie convinces him to do so, but then he finds out his father is dead, and travels to Florida for the funeral. He learns that he has a brother, and is told to ''talk to a spider'', and when Rosie finds one in the bath tub, he does as he lets it out. Suddenly his brother named Spider turns up, and turns his life upside-down, even stealing Charlie's fiancee and sleeping with her, even though she was saving herself for marriage, and this obviously angers Charlie - He goes back to Florida and seeks advice from the old lady next door to get rid of him. Lots of weird things happen after that, but it all is strands of a large web. And by the way, no one told the arachnophobe that I am that Anansi means ''spider'' - But I luckily didn't freak out since there were no pictures (I thought the one on the cover was a scarab or something, hahah). Oh and Charlie and Spider's father, Mr. Nancy, or Anansi, is in American Gods as well! So these two are connected, but not quite.

    I really liked the books, and would recommend them to people (young adults and up) who like modern sci-fi and who doesn't cry when people loose their loved ones, hahah - Cause you're not really supposed to here. But I guess they did have a happy ending, especially Anansi Boys, I quite enjoyed the ending of that. It left me with a good feeling, so I could let the book go - Especially since I stayed up until 2 AM to finish it and write this review while everything was still fresh.

    This version is a good value at only $ 18 for the two books, plus a great, green leatherbound hardback with pages dipped in silver, and a nice fancy decorated cover. Great to have in your bookshelf! Even me who doesn't really like this genre doesn't regret getting it at all!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2013

    Gaiman at his best. These two novels are page-turners. Amazing

    Gaiman at his best. These two novels are page-turners. Amazing stories that will keep you burning through then until the very end!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Beautiful book; amazing novel

    Not only is this a gorgeous book, but it's an awesome novel. I've always loved Neil Gaiman but this is the first time I e read American Gods. I cannot believe I've lives my whole life without reading it. It is a MUST read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    must read

    could not put this book down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

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    Posted November 4, 2012

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    Posted August 2, 2012

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    Posted June 28, 2011

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