Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys

by Neil Gaiman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062564337
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 246,234
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. Originally from England, he now lives in America.


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

November 10, 1960

Place of Birth:

Portchester, England


Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77

Read an Excerpt

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.

What People are Saying About This

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 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 413 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.
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
Great sequel, Gaiman did it again.
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
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.
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.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Stephen King wants to be Neil Gaiman when he grows up.Neil Gaiman shows a knack for taking mythology and folklore and bringing it into this world. With Anansi Boys, Gaiman brings Anansi, the trickster spider of African and Caribbean folklore to life. As with other classical mythology figures, we find that near immortals and mortals mix. It seems that this Anansi took a mortal wife and she had a son, or is it two sons, by him and that is who the story is really about.The story is enjoyable for a number of reasons. If you are a fan of traditional folktales, you probably know of Anansi. Gaiman does a nice job of relating some Anansi stories you may not be familiar with and showing how these stories became transformed into Americanized folk tales. He also fashions a modern adaptation and, continuing the theme from American Gods, Gaiman posits that old gods are still among us if you know how to approach them.True to the Anansi stories that Gaiman draws on to give us this story, Anansi Boys is a parable. In this case, the moral is the dual nature of our selves and how we must strive to keep balance within our selves. Charles Nancy is the first son of Anansi we meet. We later meet his brother, Spider. Still later we are lead to believe that Charles and Spider were once the same person and Spider was drawn off from Charles. Spider the archetypical trickster, always walking on the edge of getting in trouble, getting what he wants by tricking people and in general, living the good life at he expense of others. Charles is the antithesis of Spider, very down to earth without a devious thought in his mind.Enter two other characters, both female and both opposites. Rosie, a proper young lady, betrothed to Charles, and Daisy, a fun loving, but still sensible young woman with a distinct wild side. Just as Charles and Spider are actually counterparts to each other, these two women play a counter balance to the two main men of the story. Through these characters we learn about balancing our natures. While it is not hard to figure out who ends up paired with whom, the story lies in how it happens.While American Gods was decidedly a heavy story, Anansi Boys, like the Anansi tales themselves, is at times side splitting funny, with just enough danger and suspense thrown in to keep you rooted to the tale so you learn the message of the parable. In Neverwhere, except for the obvious comic relief, I don¿t think the story was meant to come off as much of a comedy. I have a hard time imagining Anansi Boys was ever intended to be anything but humorous.An all around great story, well written and, in the case of the audio book, well told. The only problem I have is trying to decide just how high to rate this. I do not feel it is truly a five star story because it did not exactly rock my world. Nonetheless, I still found this more enjoyable than the previous Gaiman stories that I¿d given four and a half stars to. Since we do not have a four and three-quarters star rating, I¿m going four and a half for this one. Just imagine that the rating really says 9½ out of 10 and the others are 9 out of 10.
SPutman on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I am not a big fan of audio books, but I loved this story in audio version, mainly because of the many voices supplied by the reader, Lenny Henry. It seemed as if he must have had a room full of people in the recording studio with him! He really captured the humor, the drama and all of the twists and turns of this unusual book. From average-guy Fat Charlie and his boring fiancee Rosie to smooth-talking lady's man Spider and Charlie's psychopathic boss Graham Coats, Gaiman's book has a wonderful assortment of characters, and Lenny Henry brings each of them to life with his wide range of accents and varied speech patterns.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing 2 days ago
This mix of folktale and modern life and magic has a quirky playfulness to it. Underneath are strands of violence and dishonesty and envy. What I enjoyed most was seeing Fat Charlie cast off his embarrassment and conventionality and become more authentically himself. I also liked the juxtaposition of the "tiger" with the "spider" and all that these two characters stood for. It was a nice melding of real life and fantasy.
Alliebadger on LibraryThing 2 days ago
This book was FANTASTIC. I've never read American Gods, although I think this book is related to it, and I plan on picking it up in the future. The basic plot is that Fat Charlie Nancy (who has been called Fat Charlie his whole life because his father once called him that and it stuck) has just found out his father died. He was always mortified by his father, but he finds out so much more--his father was the spider trickster god Anansi, and apparently he has a brother he never knew existed. Now with all of this magic and embarrassment in his life, he has to sort everything out and maybe put his life back together.Gaiman's quirky humor shines through in this novel. All of the separate story threads sparkle on their own, but by the end they are dazzling as they weave together to make his spider web of a story. It is a beautifully crafted, laugh-out-loud novel that you should definitely pick up.
d_mclaney on LibraryThing 2 days ago
For the longest, I've touted Neverwhere my favorite Gaiman book with American Gods coming in a close second. After finishing Anansi Boys, I may have to rearrange the order a bit.Wonderfully written, not surprising given it's Neil Gaiman, the story is funny and doesn't let hold once you're caught in its web. You can practically see each scene play out in your mind while reading, smell the surroundings, feel the wind on your face. And the dialogue is so natural - It's as if I know these people.Of course, we probably know some of these people, or bits of them anyway. I saw an awful lot of myself in the main character, "Fat" Charlie Nancy. Once I suffered from the same issues as he and undertook a reshuffling of life of my own in order to change things up a bit. While I didn't have quite the adventure he does, I can relate.I'm extremely pleased Mr. Gaiman took one of my favorite characters from American Gods, Mr. Nancy, and expanded his bit the universe.
TigerLMS on LibraryThing 2 days ago
LIke the earlier American Gods, Anansi Boys is a bit of an aquired taste. Anansi Boys can either stand on its own or serve as a companion piece to American Gods, and it's helpful with both novels to have brushed up on your mythology prior to reading. Anansi Boys centers on Fat Charlie, who learns after his father's death that his father was the mythological god Anansi. Fat Charlie, by the way, is actually a rather lean adult but his nickname from childhood stuck with him because his father gave it to him. Anansi, it turns out, is the god of stories and song, and whenever he told a story or gave a nickname, it would stick around for a long, long time. I listened to the audio version of the novel on a playaway, and rather enjoyed it. As good readers do, the voices were distinct and recognizable, despite a huge list of characters. This is not a book I highly recommend unless I know the reader has an interest in mythology. It's not a requirement-- it's certainly worth a try if you're looking for something out of the ordinary.
sonyagreen on LibraryThing 2 days ago
It's not as good if you happened to have read American Gods first. The story isn't exactly the same, and if you enjoy the concepts of mythology, then it's a nice companion.
KathyWoodall on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Fat Charlie had always been a little embarrassed by his father. His father thought it was great fun to play practical jokes on him. Once when Fat Charlie was just a kid his father told him that if he went to school on Presidents Day dressed as his favorite president he would get a bag of candy and be the most popular kid in school. When Charlie confronted his dad after practically been laughed out of school his dad just laughed.Charlie¿s fiance talks him into inviting his dad to their wedding. When Charlie calls he finds out his dad has died. While singing karaoke in a night club he suffers a fatal heart attack and dies¿ but, not before though pulling down a woman¿s tube top and exposing her to everyone.After the funeral Charlie is told 2 very important things about his dad. The first one is, he has a brother he never knew about. Second his father was a god.When Charlie asks how to get a hold of this so called brother he is told to talk to a spider. He does just that. Not long after his brother shows up at his apartment door. He gets more than he bargain's for with his brother. Spider turns poor Charlie¿s life upside down.Very humorous and a fun story to read. An off beat comedy of 2 brothers learning that their dad truly was a god.
librarianinblack on LibraryThing 2 days ago
The single best thing Gaiman has written since Sandman. The weaving of mythological elements with a modern day story is truly genius. His amazing ability to craft entire worlds out of words is used to its fullest extent in Anansi Boys. Congratulations to an already amazing artist for creating another astounding new world for his fans.
afyfe on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I expected a lot more out of this book. Since it was BPP book club book and the other ones I've read from their recommendations were great and the fact that I usually love fantasy/sci-fi. This book was just not enough and I didn't think the story amounted to much. Maybe a better ending would've made me like the book more, but the ending was too dull and not dramatic enough for all these crazy characters.
mysanal on LibraryThing 2 days ago
This sort-of sequel to "American Gods" focuses on the sons of Mr. Nancy. It's a wonderfully funny book... until it turns *scary*! I loved it.
vzakuta on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Neil Gaiman is one of the most original sci fi / fantasy writers around. "Anansi Boys" is a really good book from him. He mines African legends and urban humor for quite a trip along the wonderful and twisted path that is the plot of the novel. The novel is rich in imagery and also presents great archetypes and opposites-- the trickster god, the good/bad son, feminine/ masculine, religion/science and many more. I highly recommend.
Crewman_Number_6 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
After talking to several friends, I decided to give Neil Gaiman another try. However, this book fell flat too. I just couldn't get into it.
arouse77 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
moderately enjoyable, though not always purposeful prose in this offering from the author of Coraline and Stardust.i bought this book in anticipation of a long flight and still found it less than totally able to keep my attention. our main character is somewhat indistinct, on pupose as it turns out, which doesn't do much to cement him in the conciousness of the reader. an iternant storyline and slightly confusing time sequence didn't do much to make this read any more absorbing.overall a decent book, but not one i'd recommend strongly.