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Anansi Boys [Paperback]

Neil Gaiman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

8 May 2006

Bursting with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman, this story blends fantasy with humour and drama.

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?


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (8 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755305094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755305094
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a tour de force of creative talent. He is the bestselling author of Coraline and Stardust, both of which are major motion films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf starring Anthony Hopkins and Angeline Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman comic series and has written several books for children. His latest title, The Graveyard Book, won the Teenage Booktrust Prize 2009. Neil has been immortalised in song by Tori Amos, and is a songwriter himself. His official website now has more than one million unique visitors each month, and his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.

Product Description

Review

A warm, funny, immensely entertaining story... Anansi Boys combines the anarchy of Douglas Adams with a Wodehousian generosity of spirit (Susanna Clarke)

'A warm, funny, immensely entertaining story about the impossibility of putting up with your relations - especially if they happen to be Gods. Anansi Boys combines the anarchy of Douglas Adams with a Wodehousian generosity of spirit. Guaranteed to make all but the most committed arachnophobe feel gratefully towards spiders' Susanna Clarke (Susanna Clarke)

'The author...gives us powerful deities - Anansi is as charming and dangerous as he ought to be... A thoughtful, atmospheric novel' (The Times)

'As imaginative fiction goes it has become clear that Gaiman has long since left any box. His credentials as a bankable novelist have grown with each title...from his epic of warring divinities, AMERICAN GODS, to ANANSI BOYS, which debuted at number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.' (Time, Australia)

'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)

'Whizzing, twirling, erupting into dazzling cartwheels, firing off showers of multi-colored sparks, chortling to itself and muttering killer-diller one-liners, ANANSI BOYS draws the reader, ever more wide-eyed and amazed, into a world both feather-light and chockablock with mortal danger. Only Neil Gaiman could have brought this fraught enchantment into being, and the ongoing, ultimately revelatory travails of Fat Charlie Nancy display Gaiman's remarkable imaginative powers at full stretch. This book is going to sail off the shelves' Peter Straub (Peter Straub)

'Neil Gaiman is one of the few genuinely intelligent writers of what is generally described as 'post-modern' fiction - his work is thoughtful, wise, spiritually challenging and incredibly funny...From Gaiman, it's a treasure, every word. I can't imagine a better way to start a holiday' Manda Scott, Church of England Newspaper, 22 July 2005 (Manda Scott, Church of England Newspaper)

'Brilliant mingling of the mundane and the fantastic' Publishers Weekly, 18/7/05 (Publishers Weekly)

'Gaiman juggles several intersecting narratives expertly...blithely echoing numerous creation myths and folklore motifs, Terry Southern's antic farces, Evelyn Waugh's comic contes cruel, and even - here and there - Muriel Spark's whimsical supernaturalism...enormously entertaining throughout' Kirkus Reviews, 15 July 2005 (Kirkus Reviews)

A book it's impossible not to love (Starburst)

'Gaiman is best-known for his Sandman series of graphic novels, but here he demonstrates an equally vivid ability to portray the mythic and the fantastic in comic prose...slapstick and verbal pyrotechnics are the primary motors of the book. The "apparent effortlessness" of this sort of writing requires planning and execution of a very high order... Neil Gaiman is a very good writer indeed, and this is a very funny bedtime story' (Daily Telegraph)

'Bizarre, bonkers...rather brilliant' (Ian Hislop)

'Exhilarating and terrifying' (Independent)

'This is the most accomplished of Gaiman's novels thus far... Anansi Boys has charm going for it and a plot that pirouettes on a dime. Urbane and sophisticated' (Time Out)

'Part soap opera, part macabre fairy tale, part supernatural horror... Gaiman's writing is as sharp as ever, full of flair and fun...his characters are huge and full-blooded... Often hilarious and just as often unsettling, Anansi Boys is a dark delight' (SFX magazine)

'[Neil Gaiman is the] literary equivalent of a sexy rock star' (Scotland on Sunday)

Book Description

Bursting with imaginative power, this story blends fantasy with humour and drama


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a bed-time story for grown-ups 11 May 2006
Format:Paperback
'Anansi Boys' is really a story about embarrassing parents and other relatives who turn up exactly when you least want and need them to that starts out completely - well, normal - and suddenly drops into a mixture of horror, fantasy, comedy and crime all at once. Fat Charlie Nancy discovers after his father's funeral that Dad wasn't just any emabarrassing parent but Anansi the trickster spider-god. And when voodoo witch Mrs. Higgler tells him he has a brother he can't even remember, Charlie impulsively calls said brother up (magically I mean not on the phone). which gets him ino a great deal of trouble with the police, his fiancé, various ancient gods, his psycho boss, and worst of all, his future mother-in-law...

Gaiman's story is the funniest thing I've read since the last time I bought a Discworld novel a year or so ago; it is also the spookiest. How many times do we all wonder who our parents were before they were parents, and why they have to be so embarrassing once they are? And how many of us have had nightmares about someone else taking over our lives? And above all, how does Gaiman manage to slip in the supernatural (or rather, weird) occurences into normal life with such ease that they seem completely logical, totally normal and so simple that it seems anyone should be able to perform 'miracles'? I guess its just a question of style; and Gaiman has lots of it. He appears to toss this story off without any effort whatsoever, and thus it reads more easily than most fantasy and/or horror stories that seem a lot more forced and constructed. And you simply cannot call it a book: it is a story of the same sort as the original Anansi stories: a fairy-tale.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boys, boys! 25 Feb 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Neil Gaiman is best known for his witty, slightly wonky brand of dark fantasy. But he gets a bit lighter for "Anansi Boys," a sort of unconnected sequel to his hit "American Gods." You think your dad is embarrassing? Well, at least he's not a trickster god.

Fat Charlie's dad has always been weird -- brass bands for the terminally ill, nicknames that stick, and much more. But even away from his dad, Charlie isn't happy. Then he gets the news that his dad died during a karaoke song; when he goes to the funeral, an old neighbor tells him that Daddy was really Anansi the spider god. Even worse, Charlie finds out he has a brother.

Spider is everything Charlie isn't -- charming, debonair, witty, and magical. Soon he has not only taken over Fat Charlie's house, but his fiancee as well, distracting Fat Charlie from his boss's attempts to frame him. Determined to get rid of Spider, Fat Charlie enlists the Bird Woman's help -- but soon finds that his pact will only get them in deeper trouble with the ancient gods.

Trickerster gods -- Anansi, Loki, Kokopelli -- are always fun. And Gaiman makes the idea even more fun with "Anansi Boys." Sibling rivalry forms the backbone of the book, but it's also sprinkled with corporate intrigue, romance, and the old Anansi legends (which Gaiman inserts periodically). And of course -- lots and lots of humour.

With this lighter tone, Gaiman sounds a lot like his pal Terry Pratchett, right down to wry humor and comic timing. "There are three things, and three things only, that can lift the pain of mortality and ease the ravages of life. These things are wine, women and song." "Curry's nice too." Gaiman seems to be having a lot of fun in this book.

And nowhere is the fun more clear than in Spider and Fat Charlie.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 3 July 2006
By BC
Format:Paperback
I read this on the back of reading another novel by Gaiman - American Gods. I rated American Gods as 5 stars, and I actually thought that Anansi Boys is a better book!

The book is a hybrid of reality, fantasy and comedy, and manages to combine the three extremely well. It is extremely well-written as per usual from Gaiman, and the characters are very well developed, although it suffers in parts from the odd clichéd character (the girlfriends mother, for example), but this doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment.

There are some dark moments in the book that are quite thought-provoking, but on the whole it is fairly easy reading. The storyline is original and, like American Gods, involves quite a few of God legends.

If you liked Gaiman's previous work, you'll love this. If you like fantasy books (Pratchett, Holt etc), you'll love this. In fact if you like reading, you should love this! This gets the full 5 stars, highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality entertainment 22 Jun 2006
By hwade17
Format:Hardcover
Neil Gaiman introduced Compe Anansi, the African spider-god and trickster, as a minor character in his last best seller, "American Gods." Although American Gods was readable, Anansi Boys is better. As another reviewer has pointed out, there were places where American Gods just felt like a bit of a re-hash of the Brief Lives story arc from "Sandman." By comparison, Anansi Boys takes the character and background of the African (or by now African-American) god Anansi and riffs on the mythos with highly original results.

Anansi himself is a brilliantly memorable creation - a dapper, fedora-wearing, wisecracking, Cab Calloway lookalike with a perpetual eye for the ladies (even after death) and a soft-shoe shuffle "that was popular for about half an hour in Harlem in the 1920's," and, in consequence, a constant source of toe-curling mortification to his estranged son Fat Charlie. When the story opens, Fat Charlie is living mundanely in South London, with a lukewarm fiancée, a mother-in-law-to-be from Hell, and a job working for a man who resembles the psychotic twin of Reggie Perrin's boss. He's one of life's mysteriously selected fall guys - his father plays humiliating jokes on him as a kid, promotion passes him over; coffee gets spilt on his lap, his embarrassing nickname survives weight loss and a 3000-mile move across the Atlantic, a wrongful arrest causes neighbours to assume that he must be a Yardie. Things, however, are about to get worse ... far, far worse.

Told with the authorial voice of a generous, stand-up raconteur (Gaiman credits Lenny Henry in the acknowledgements) this is entertainment of a high quality. As with "American Gods", there's a certain amount of magic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read.
definitely deserves 5 star rating. takes you into a different world where your imagination can roam free. Read more
Published 11 days ago by J. Weston
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Ordinary
This was one for of those that wasn't awful but I'm highly unlikely ever to want to read it again and wouldn't give it an enthusiastic recommendation.
Published 22 days ago by R H L Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman is my new Iain Banks
If you love Iain Banks and his really creative style, then Gaiman will not disappoint. This book is probably less fantastical than some of his others, but great none the less.
Published 24 days ago by Mark S McCall
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Day Fantasy Classic
Anansi Boys is a fantasy story and yet in so many ways it relates to real life. This is the sort of story your friend tells you when you tell them how terrible your life is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Samantha Grayson
4.0 out of 5 stars Talking to Spiders
I don’t like spiders! I don’t suffer from Arachnophobia, but every time I see a spider in my house I need to kill it, they are not welcome! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sara Reis
4.0 out of 5 stars All Stories are Anansi's
Gaiman takes the West African and Caribbean little trickster spider god to weave a compelling tale of brothers, fraud and acceptance.
Published 1 month ago by Waylander101
4.0 out of 5 stars Anansi Boys
A really good story, and well written, as always by Neil Gaiman, although in my opinion American Gods tops it.
Published 1 month ago by Peter W
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
I bought this because I loved American Gods, but it was very disappointing. I actually thought it was a book for younger teens that I had bought by mistake initially. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Picklesmith
4.0 out of 5 stars Twist and Turns all the way
This is a great read. Improbable and unbelievable go hand in hand, but it makes for fascinating reading. A fast paced action book that keeps you guessing right to the end. Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. J. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Anansi boys
Pure pleasure, easy reading light but with a real story it feels like the ending to a story I started as a child. Read it smile buy another!
Published 2 months ago by Richard J Childs
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