Edition cover

  • ISBN10: 0755305094
  • ISBN13: 9780755305094
  • Paperback
  • 480 pages
  • Headline Review

Anansi Boys
by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by eatyourgreens

Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Posted 14 years ago
  • Viewed 5410 times, 5 comments
  • Average user rating: (4.2/5)

More fun with folklore from Mr Gaiman

Fat Charlie Nancy is a nice bloke living a humdrum life in South London. He has a job that pays the rent, a lovely fiancee and thoughts of marriage on his mind. He tries not to think about his father, a larger-than-life character and a source of constant embarrassment to Charlie. All this changes when his father drops dead and Charlie is forced to realise that he's the son of a god. Anansi the Spider, the trickster of African folklore, to be precise. Furthermore, Charlie has a previously unknown brother who is everything Charlie is not - stylish, charming, eloquent and vivacious. A brother who is staying in his spare room and seducing his girlfriend. The book really takes off when Charlie makes an ill-considered deal with an associate of his father's in order to get his life back to normal. Don't make deals with gods, kids.

Neil Gaiman returns to the territory of his previous novel, American Gods - figures from ancient mythology wandering around in the modern world. Fans of his Sandman series will be familiar with this already, and it's subject matter that Gaiman handles with skill. Anansi Boys is much lighter than American Gods, though not without its darker moments. The reader (well this reader) is drawn in to Fat Charlie's life and sides with him in his quest to discover who he really is. A darkly comic subplot involving his scheming weasel of a boss plays out well against the main story.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. One that had me staying up late into the night, thinking "oh, one more chapter, then I'll go to bed" when, suddenly, I realised I'd read the whole thing in a single sitting.

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cedarwaxwing says:

Great review!

I've had this book on my shelf since I bought it from the man himself. (well, he was in the next room when I bought it at Borders). I have not read it yet, however.

I keep telling myself to sit down and read the thing - I started it (after unsuccessfully starting American Gods) but for some reason put it down.

I list Gaiman as one of my favorite authors, yet have only read a small percentage of his published works.

I've said elsewhere that I think his books are more masculine for my tastes - Reading American Gods made me feel like I'd accidently entered the men's locker room in a gym. (albeit a thinking men's locker room). The testosterone was pervasive.

Because I own most of his novels and have made a promise to myself to read more of the books I own before buying any more, I will eventually read it.

Your positive review has inspired me to move it up a bit on my list of books to be read.

#1 Posted 14 years ago

Sundance says:

The only Gaiman book I have read is Stardust and at first I didn't like it because I was unused to the genre. Then I re-read it, and it grew on me. Having read your review I will now try Anansi Boys. Thanks.

#2 Posted 13 years ago

Ritesh says:

An interesting read, the genre is growing on me.

#3 Posted 12 years ago

jnanagarbha says:

Although the central conceit is not as strong, I consider this book to be an improvement on American Gods. Gaiman seems to me to be gaining a more profound understanding of the archetypal significance of mythological characters over time.

For me, his earlier works depicted characters who were amoral, while his recent characters are more sensitive to the experiences of others, whilst still operating on a different level of concern. Ken Wilber might describe the distinction as being between behaviour that is 'pre-moral' and 'trans-moral'.

Plus, it's plenty of fun with some well developed moments of tension - so all-in-all well recommended. I should mention that I'm writing this from memory, as I read the book a couple of years ago.

#4 Posted 12 years ago

KatieGatto says:

Great review, it sounds like a great read. It also gives you a favorite failing character, with the standard flaws that make his interesting.

#5 Posted 11 years ago

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