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 best seller 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."
©2005 Neil Gaiman; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers
" "Excellent." (Stephen King)
"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." (Publishers Weekly)
Contrary to what many people will tell you, I think Neil Gaiman is at his best in this fantastic spin-off of American Gods. This is possibly one of the few books I have enjoyed listening to even more than I've enjoyed reading it.
Fat Charlie didn't know that his late father was, in fact, the fabled trickster god, Anansi. Nor did he know that he had a brother who inherited all the "god stuff" leaving Charlie with what he doesn't realize is a marvelous singing voice.
It's only after reaching out to his new-found brother, Spider, that Fat Charlie realizes his mistake and that just about anything is thicker than water.
Anansi Boys is as much a story of two painfully different brothers who are forced together by curiosity and fate, as it is about the power of words and song over brute strength.
This is definitely a light-hearted read that nonetheless has something to teach us about family and, perhaps, about storytelling, itself. Like much of Gaiman's work, Anansi boys is an ode to the power of stories to connect, change, and ultimately heal people as much as they did when they were first told and sung about animal gods, back in the beginning of time, at the end of the world.
Such a story deserves an excellent narrator and Lenny Henry's performance is nothing short of perfection. This isn't surprising, considering that he was part of Neil Gaiman's inspiration for Spider. Lenny Henry's versatility and ability to capture even the smallest nuances of each character make him one of my favorite audiobook readers.
This audiobook has my highest recommendations!
This is my favorite of Gaiman's books, but what makes this recording truly exceptional is the narrator, Lenny Henry (Chef). His timing and tone capture the essence of characters in the book, from the whining Fat Charlie to the booming Mr. Anansi to the cluck-cluck-cluck of the elderly Carribean ladies. It is difficult to hit "pause" on this audiobook!
Poet, Writer, Novice Planetary Scientist, Musician, Hooligan, Former Audience Guy, Protector of Stupid Princesses.
I read Anansi Boys after American Gods, and loved both of them. Anansi Boys is wise and funny, and the narrator does a great job.
I can't help thinking that "Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul" by Douglas Adams casts a shadow somewhere... I don't know where, but I kept remembering Clean White Sheets while I was listening and that has nothing to do with this story.
Anansi Boys lifted me up, made me think and entertained me.
American Gods is one of the best books I've heard on Audible, and I didn't expect Anansi Boys to live up to that. It's far less ambitious in scope, but that turns out to be a strength, not a weakness. Despite being about corporeal gods, Anansi Boys is a very human story about what it means to become a whole person. It's also very nice to see a story involving mythological characters _not_ drawn from the Norse, the Greek, or the Romans.
The narrator does an extraordinary job; I'll have to seek out more of his work as well, even if he isn't reading someone I'm familiar with.
Incidentally, it's not necessary to have read American Gods first. I recommend reading/listening to both, but if you're trying to decide between one or the other, the tight focus and deeper character development make Anansi Boys stronger of the two, and it stands just fine on its own.
Audible rawks! My taste is beyond eclectic and Audible always has plenty to choose from, no matter what mood I'm in!
If you know nothing of Mr. Gaiman previous works, listen to this one! If you loved the dialogue in his Sandman comics, this will bring back some fond memories! No extensive knowledge of pantheons or the supernatural is required. This is simply storytelling at its finest, bumped up to unheard of levels of aural bliss by possibly the best reader I've heard to date (this book should really say "Performed By" instead of "Read By", rather like the Harry Potter recordings). Every character comes to 3-D life through the perfectly merged talents of Msrs. Henry and Gaiman. The humour is deadly urban British wit by-way-of-the-West-Indies, with a few trips thru Florida, too. The scary bits are rendered even more jarring and cold-blooded thanks to the overall irreverent tone. Just remember: though Mr. Gaiman may have written the story and Mr. Henry may be telling the story, all stories are Anansi's. And when you finish listening to this tale, you'll want to ask the first spider you see to send Anansi your personal thanks!
Part of the fun of this book was the narrator's wide range of voices for the difference characters. The other was the mixing of reality and fantasy that Gaiman does very well. This is a stand-alone book. No need to have read any of his other books, though if they're all this good, it might be worth tracking them down!
Small warning: If you're easily grossed out, there's one passage near the climax that might be too much.
Gaimon has successfully produced another genre-defying novel that mixes detective and fantastic and humor all together. Although I enjoyed American Gods much more, I thought this was a very good follow-up to American Gods. I wish we could give half-stars, because I think I would give it a 3-1/2. I liked the characters, and the story, though, while American Gods was epic, this was jsut a good story. I was thoroughly entertained, and the narration was good, though, I was really hoping for something on as big a scale as American Gods. Still, this is a solid book, and I am glad I listened to it.
This is a fantastic story that is very different, riveting, and excellent to hear. I used to read the sandman graphic novels in college but my wife never really understood why I ranted and raved about Gaiman until she listened to this book. Not only is this an excellent tale but this book and Neverwhere also by Gaiman were done with multiple voices and an experienced audio technician. It really adds quite a bit to the book to hear these voices flesh out the characters. You start to really get into this story. I started taking my ipod everywhere and working longer and longer on my fine art to listen to every detail. Gaiman and Audible is a match made in heaven!
The narrator, Lenny Henry, is in fact a black Britisher of Jamaican parentage. He's an actor and stand-up comedian quite well known in Great Britain and does a brilliant job narrating this richly entertaining comic novel. According to IMDB.com, he's also a friend of Neil Gaiman.
Gaiman is an incredible writer and I've loved everything he's written. I didn't think he could get better than narrating his own books but Lenny Henry does an AMAZING job with this book. He does the accents perfectly, times the jokes just right, and conveys Gaiman's sense of myth and reality in a way that makes the audio version even more compelling than the print version.
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