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)
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Anansi Boys follows a similar formula to Gaiman's American Gods: take characters from folklore and mythology (in this case, Afro-Caribbean) and put them into a modern setting. This book is more light-hearted than American Gods, though, and I found it more fun to read. If you don't get a laugh out of Gaiman's colorful conception of Anansi as a smooth-talking, fun-loving, and thoroughly incorrigible old man, or the ultra-cool, multi-talented, and equally irresponsible Spider, or the many lines of witty dialogue and description, you might not have a sense of humor. The story, which involves a shlumpy but decent-hearted office worker nicknamed Fat Charlie, who happens to be Anansi's son, making a wish that he comes to regret, and trying to rectify it with a bargain that he comes to regret even more, follows familiar folklore tropes, but it's charmingly well-excuted.
Possibly my favorite of Gaiman's books that I've read so far, but American Gods is enjoyable, too. However, I have to say that you're missing something if you merely *read* this novel -- Gaiman renders the characters with the color and storybook flair that they deserve, effortlessly switching between Caribbean, African-American, and British accents. Get it from audible (I found it on sale) or seek out the CD version.
I guess I didn't connect to the main characters at all. At the end I understood why they were faulty. I've read two others of his books prior to this one and I loved them, so this was kind of a let down.
I'm in awe. I couldn't stop smiling through the entire book. Not only was the book a blast the narrator is a real artist. If you don't like this book just kill yourself, your already dead.
I love Neil Gaiman. This book was really enjoyable. The narrator was fantastic. I think Gaiman is such a great storyteller and it makes his books wonderful in the audio format. I could easily listen to Anansi Boys and Neverwhere again and again. And I can't wait to download his other books!
I expected this book to be a sequel to the gritty and dark American Gods. I was therefore initially somewhat put off by its comedic nature.
Much of the first half of the book could have been written by Douglas Adams. But that's not too shabby, since Adams' books were not only hilarious but also very cleverly crafted.
After I got over my surprise, I found Anansi Boys to be as thoroughly entertaining and satisfying as American Gods. The second part of the book even recaptures some of drama and emotion of the earlier book.
The narration was just as impressive as the story. Lenny Henry has the perfect voice and delivery for the characters he was portraying.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ― Dr. Seuss
Wonderful story, great narration (one of the best I've heard - wish he did more!). Laugh out loud funny in places. Highly recommended if you like fantasy and mythological lore in a modern day setting with an everyman, relatable main character.
Before listening to this l was unfamiliar with the work of Neil Gaiman however, being of Caribbean descent i was familiar with both Anansi stories and the comedic work of Lenny Henry.This book was an unexpected gem.It is the best read book that i have listened to in two years of subscribing to Audible. Please audible -add more books by Gaiman and more books read by Henry.
If you're a Gaiman fan you know he writes many different styles. This is comic fantasy, in the style of "Good Omens." There is some romance, that might appeal to "Stardust" fans. Combining the African spirit stories of the animal gods with the sensibilites of a BBC sit-com, Gaiman pulls off a neat trick in making the listener laugh, cry and feel child-like wonder in this rapid-moving tale of brothers trying to reconcile after the death of their father.
The narrator is wonderful, with voices that bring the nasty villains and the banal hero to life. He puts a movie in your head, and it's a fine one.
Unlike American Gods, Anansi Boys is a bedtime story, a fable for adults. Most likely, the audiobook is an improvement over the printed version because this book was meant to be read and sung aloud. Gaiman delivers his message with wit and humor that doesn't blunt its power. Anansi Boys left me searching for another audiobook by Neil Gaiman (and sadly disappointed). Anansi Boys is a beautifully produced book. Gaiman is fortunate that Lenny Henry was available to provide his work its voice; I cannot imagine another reader doing it justice. Still hungering for more, I searched for another audiobook read by Lenny Henry; and again, I was disappointed. It is hard to believe that such a gifted reader has produced only one audiobook for Audible. Anansi Boys also includes some of the most delightful music I've heard on a recorded book and the book is precisely edited with exacting timing. Altogether, it is a work of art that is a delight to hear (or read through the ears).
As a recent member of the audible family, I've mostly been focusing on non-fiction. The dramatic possibilities inherent in non-fiction can be, shall we say, slight. I took a chance on this one, and what a winning gamble. The story starts a bit slowly, but the performance was amazing. The narrator (Lennie X?) provided terrific voices, accents, and characterizations, which only added to an already fun and engaging story. Normally, I ration these books out on my lunch time bike ride...but I gobbled up Anansi Boys greedily. Well worth your time if you're in the mood for a fun, funny take on Aesop's fables.
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