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Publisher's Summary

A kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth from best-selling storytelling legend Neil Gaiman, best-selling author of American Gods and Norse Mythology. A BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Anansi Boys, featuring an all-star cast lead by Lenny Henry, will premiere on Christmas Day 2017.

Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared - right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad's fault.

If his rotter of an estranged father hadn't dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the spider god. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancée, or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him.

Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four more-than-slightly eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo - and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider. But as darkness descends and badness begins is Fat Charlie Nancy going to get his life back in one piece or is he about to enter a whole netherworld of pain?

©2005 Neil Gaiman; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A warm, funny, immensely entertaining story...Anansi Boys combines the anarchy of Douglas Adams with a Wodehousian generosity of spirit." (Susanna Clarke)
"Lenny Henry...is absolutely the perfect choice to read Anansi Boys....An absolutely top-notch performance, one that makes a terrific book even better." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mixing farce and fantasy, epic mythology and domestic drama, Gaiman's novel is a clever piece of storytelling and a celebration of the magic of make-believe." (Independent on Sunday)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Lesley
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • 01-02-13

Neil Gaiman is awesome as usual

What about Lenny Henry’s performance did you like?

Lenny Henry is an inspired choice to narrate this novel. His vocal expressiveness is simply the best I have heard so far in an audiobook, the characters are clearly differentiated and he always gets the emphasis right. The only (very minor) criticism I have is that some silent gaps between segments are a little longer than they need to be - but that's better than no gaps at all which I have encountered in some other books.

Any additional comments?

I love the way Neil Gaiman mixes mythology with reality. To say any more would be to risk spoilers. I haven't quite finished listening but I'm really looking forward to hearing how it ends. I believe I can predict some of the outcome, but not how it will be achieved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • S.
  • 05-31-12

Lenny Henry brought this book alive for me

What did you love best about Anansi Boys?

I have always loved Neil Gaiman and have read Anansi Boys more than once. However, listening to Lenny Henry tell it brought so many new aspects alive for me. It was a truly delightful experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • Maidstone, Australia
  • 04-18-12

Great story, great reader.

This was my first audiobook. What a great introduction. One of the best books I have ever read. The naration was fabulous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Carolyn
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 05-27-11

Tremendous. Perfect narrator and narration.

I do love Neil Gaiman's books but hadn't yet read this one on paper. After listening to Anansi Boys, I want to experience all his other novels in audio form. For me, Lenny Henry's narration added a whole extra dimension of joy, and slowing down my experience of the book made me realise how wonderful Neil Gaiman's language and observation is.

Lenny Henry is the perfect narrator for this story; his pacing, his rendition of the characters' voices and thoughts, and the way he can bring both the humour and the awkwardness to life, delighted me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Simply Good

It started off a bit like one of those Cringe Books. Awkward moments experienced by our unlikely hero and somehow it turns out OK. Yes, but no. Very difficult to describe but very enjoyable to listen to and it get's better as it goes along.

The story, for me at least, was a bit unusual, taken from the mythology (i assume) of Africa (not Voodoo) and introdyced me to a different type of wolrd of Semi gods and ...the like but again, much different that what we expect from most mythologies.

If you've read it all, it's worth a read and if you want something just a little bit different also great. I will be looking for further books from this Author a bit late.

Also, the Narrator was brillinat!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacobus
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 10-24-10

Entertaining absurdity

It is interesting how Neil Gaiman takes the listener in a captivating way to the absurd, and making it believable. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The story starts with a man called Fat Charlie, being called fat, only because his father called him fat. Very much like the neighbour's dog, who won prices in dog shows until his father called the dog Goofy. Gaiman warns the reader that the story isn't an ordinary one. It becomes more and more interesting as Fat Charlie's father's nature is introduced to you. Then Fat Charlie also has to deal with his mischievous long lost brother, Spider. Gaiman interweaves the impossible into a possible setting, making the story unpredictable.

The narrator, Lenny Henry, does an excellent job in interpreting the various characters. I enjoyed his interpretative reading, especially his African-American accent needed to understand the characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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starts slow but eventually good

performer was excellent with an impressive array of accents. story is a bit off the beaten track , but being West Indian I loved the reference to the anansi universe

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Fabulous fantasy for a fastidious clientele<br />

excellent narration and an intrlguing ploy that kept me wanting to hear all that remained in

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My ABSOLUTE favourite

I have read this book, listened to this book, & lent others this book (hard copy) more times than I can remember.
Lenny Henry's narration is perfect.
Neil Gaiman's story of course is unforgettable. I guarantee you will never look at a spider the same way again. :)

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Fantastic

Narrator is absolutely fantastic, does the voices so well. Really knows how to bring Gaiman's story alive and make the listener laugh!

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  • Michael
  • 11-30-06

A great story, well told

Not being a fan of Lenny Henry, i was somewhat worried when a friend bought me this for my birthday this year, I expected his voice to grate throughout, and ruin a brilliant book by one of my favourite authors. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find that he does a great job of telling the story, bringing a real sense of life to the characters- there's no denying that his range is limited, but it serves this book well. The reason behind my giving it 4 stars, then- I'd say that Gaiman's previous novel, 'American Gods' is a more compelling story (but I'm not sure if it's available on audiobook- certainly, it isn't from audible) and in terms of capturing the essence of a story perfectly, you can't beat Neil reading his own work- I'm thinking of the audiobook reading of the wonderful coraline, his dark fantasy aimed at children but massively enjoyable for adults nonetheless (unfortunately, audible doesn't stock this great book either). Still, these are minor quibbles, Neil is a master storyteller and I highly recommend all of his work. A more accurate score would be 9/10.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • 02-08-08

Enjoyable throughout

Not having known Lenny Henry's work before listening to this book, I had no prejudices. I love Neil Gaiman's writing, his humor, his limitless ideas and full-fledged characters. I've read nearly all of his novels and some short fiction. It's only the Sandman series that I haven't read (yet). At any rate, I was wowed by Henry's performance reading this book. Apparently, he and Gaiman are buddies and he was asked by the author to do this narration. He does a fantastic job of bring each character to life, his accents were spot on (even the American one!), and he imbued the Gods with characteristics from their animal sides which was truly amazing.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Joyceline
  • 02-28-07

Anansi brought up to date

This is a wonderful tale of personal conflict, sibling rivalry, the younger generation versus the older, love, cultural roots and more. I lost count of how may stories were included in this one. An enjoyable fantasy which makes great use of the familiar to make sense of the lead character Charlie's life. Lenny Henry read well enough for me not to remember that he was the narrator. (No outlandish laughter!) I was disappointed when I got to the end. I enjoyed the fact that Charlie's real world life ran parallel to his fantasy life. This book make you feel if you turn around quickly you may catch a glimpse of something of another world... It was refreshing to hear an modern take of the anansi story. A great book for leaving the bills, responsibilities and other such matters behind for a few hours

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • 07-13-09

Simply Splendid

All Neil Gaiman's stuff is great. This is a funny, clever, book, slightly dark in places, and a total delight. You've no idea what's going to happen next, or where it will end up. But you will be desperate to find out! Lenny Henry reads it beautifully, and brings it fabulously alive.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheamus
  • 12-23-12

Good story well told

As with all his other books on Audible, Neil Gaiman doesnt disappoint - the story is filled with dark humour, romance, fantasy and adventure. It is also worth noting Lenny Henry's storytelling abilities - people often forget Lenny's capacity for voices, but it's hard to forget when he puts in a performance like this.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 12-02-12

Great read

I bought this book because I enjoyed American Gods so much and, while there are some strong links between the two books (Anansi), they could not be more different.



The story has tonnes of the charm and imagination that you come to expect from a Neil Gaiman story. I found myself caring about the characters (even the antagonists) who are riddled with personality flaws, conflicts and other baggage. The settings are so vividly described that it was hard not to get lost in the settings.



Lenny Henry makes for a surprisingly excellent narrator for this book - his range of accents is incredible and leads to a very immersive experience. He even pulls-off a posh blazer-wearing middle-aged white guy very well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • 05-31-12

Splendid

A simple tale, beautifully told. Lenny Henry's narration is top-notch and the story is accessible and refreshingly unassuming. Can't recommend this one enough.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Beccameriel
  • 07-23-13

Look, it's Gaiman, I love Gaiman.

It's hard for me to write an objective review becuase I love Neil Gaiman and everything he does.

In typical Gaiman fashion this is about stories and storytelling and how we the stories we tell make us who we are. Refreshing to have a non-white protagonist too.

Lenny Henry is perfect to read Anansi Boys. Obviously, he gets all the accents right. Obviously.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • 11-24-12

Really good fun.

This is a very silly story and I absolutely loved listening to it; the narrators voice was perfect and added to the silliness. It is so wildly weird!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Gustav
  • 08-19-12

Neil at his best

Wow! What a book! The main characters are fascinating, lovable and engaging, but so are all the minor characters that you come across in this story, some of which turn out to become quite important indeed.

Big head up on the narrator. This book should be used as a convincing argument why audio books are so great! The narrator, with his thick Caribbean accent, is perfect for the narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Erin
  • 09-20-16

Brilliant

Some outstanding narration by Lenny Henry, and an incredibly imaginative story, I completely loved it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca Tilley
  • 02-14-17

So much fun.

Such a great Gaiman story, and Lenny was an amazing pick for the narrator. His reading really brought the book to life in a whole new way for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Melissa
  • 01-24-17

went a little weird at the end

Lenny Henry did a great job narrating. the story was easy to get into but I had a few wtf moments towards the end when it went a little too offcourse for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Elisabeth May
  • 10-02-16

Exhilarating!

Lenny and Neil and Anansi ... oh, and maybe tiger ... perfect combination.

Thanks and I must get myself a fedora that smells, only slightly and on damp nights, of cigar smoke.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vikki
  • 11-12-17

Surprisingly Good

I was not completely sold on the purchase of this book. As I really enjoy them when they are read by the author himself. Lenny Henry was terrific it really couldn’t be read by anyone else. He’s a great marriage with the story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-19-17

The Best audio book

The best audio book I have ever heard Lenny Henry was amazing in his narration of a fantastic story

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  • Dan
  • 07-31-17

Absolutely brilliant!! Laugh out loud.

Another ripper from Mr Gaiman. Discovered him late in life but so glad that I did!!

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  • Tril Tyler
  • 07-16-17

What a fabulous voice. Can he read me everything?

Great story by Gaiman, combined with a fantastic narrator makes for the most enjoyable audio book I've ever listened to. I loved the voices and accents.

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  • Simon
  • 07-12-17

Beautiful narration

A pretty interesting storyline in the fashion of American Gods with more comic relief. The greatest thing about this recording is the superb narration by Lenny Henry. Genuinely funny and engaging.

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  • Cage
  • 07-02-17

yep

went kinda left field towards the end. confusion. but well read and entertaining. awesome Neil.