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)
It's certainly in my Top 5 overall, out of more than 50 sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks. (Rivals include Game of Thrones, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Cryptonomicon and Neverwhere.)
The story is pure Neil Gaiman. If you know his work, you know what I mean. If you don't, well, it's like a fairy tale for adults. For smart adults, who enjoy wit and surprise and whimsy and compassion, even as their protagonists squirm with discomfort.
The early scenes with Spider were perfect. All of the scenes with the Caribbean grannies were delightful.
It's not a moving novel, and I say this with high praise. Cabernet sauvignon is moving; champagne is uplifting. Both can be transcendent. This is a transcendent champagne.
An audiobook has added potential for both delight and disappointment that a paper book does not. Listen, for instance, to Neil Gaiman reading his own screenplay Neverwhere and you might agree that the author's reading adds so much more than the printed words themselves might.
In Anansi Boys, the narrator Lenny Henry is hands down the best narrator I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. I don't think Neil Gaiman himself could have surpassed Mr. Henry's performance in reading the novel. And my money says that Mr. Gaiman wouldn't disagree.
Nevertheless, I would still pay money for the privilege to find out the differences between the two. That's how much I liked this audiobook.
Liked American Gods, but loved Anansi Boys. A lot (most?) of the credit has to go to Lenny Henry, who is fantastic.
I've listened to this audiobook three times now. It is an extremely entertaining story, told with style. The characters are flamboyant and full of life. And by borrowing from African mythic characters, such as Anansi himself, Neil breathes a new kind of life into them. It's simply a smashingly well-crafted fantasy story set in our modern-day, non-fantasy world.
Lenny Henry's narration is, without a doubt, the best I've ever heard. While Neil's prose breathes life into the African animal gods, Henry's narration breathes another kind of life into Niel's entire cast of characters. His presentation is absolutely flawless. Every character has its own voice and none of them are of the "irritating storyteller" variety. And the voices he gives to the old Carribbean women who inhabit major portions of this tale are delightful.
The review title says it all: buy it now! You won't be disappointed.
No one can narrate a story like Neil Gaiman! The story was wonderful and not as disturbing as his previous book "American Gods." I could have skipped American Gods, but this story of a similar concept was great.
I love audiobooks and have enjoyed many by author, Neil Gaiman, but I just could not get into Anansi Boys. I'm not sure whether it was the story line or the narration that caused my boredom. It was the first (and so far, the only audiobook) that I did not have the heart to finish. I so really wanted to finish it and enjoy it, but I found myself not caring what happened to the characters. I stopped midway through. I did not find out till later that this book was based on a previous book, American Gods. Maybe had I started with that one first, I would be giving a different review. Very disappointed.
What can I say... You've got to listen to this to believe it (or not)... It's an amazing tale... thoroughly enjoyed to the end... I never wanted to set it aside or check out another book... it was magical... entertaining... and everything you could ask for in a fantasy book... All the characters were well defined and made a strong impression on the story... nothing wasted... Great Book... Well worth you time...
I like audiobooks, but i usually prefer print. I like to listen to audio only when i can't be reading (i.e. on a walk, in the car, etc.). However, this is an exception. The narration is so entertaining, that I would prefer to listen to this, rather than reading it. If you like myth, folklore, modern fantasy, and/or Neil Gaiman, this is something you don't want to miss.
Gaiman is excellent as usual, and the reader handles the voices and accents wonderfully. I have recommended both book and audio to many people and read/listened to it myself multiple times.
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