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4.4 out of 5 stars142
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 6 May 2009
I was already a fan of the book when I bought the audiobook. Lenny Henry's reading is just superb. He brings Anansi Boys to life with some great (but not over-the-top) characterisations. I've been listening to it on car journeys - it's such a good way to pass the time. More than once, I've reached my destination and remained in the car just to catch the end of a chapter. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.
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on 4 August 2006
Neil Gaiman has yet to disappoint me.

This is gentle fantasy, varying from dark to bright sometimes within a page, and even people who wouldn't normally choose to read anything within the fantasy genre will find this easy to read and relate to. It's often funny, but isn't comedy. It has its monsters, but it's not horror. It has observation in bucketloads; everyone -- even Spider -- is someone you know, and sometimes even someone you are, but it's when recognition of the familiar is mixed into the stranger-than-you-know world that is Gaiman's stock in trade that this is at its most entertaining.

Buy it. You'll love it. And you'll say hello to at least one spider by the end, just in case.
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You think your dad is embarrassing? Well, at least he isn't an African trickster god -- now that would be nothing but trouble.

But it's what you'd expect of Neil Gaiman, who is best known for his witty, slightly wonky brand of dark fantasy -- and his ability to spin up the most absurd stories in an entertaining fashion. And "Anansi Boys" features Gaiman getting in touch with his lighter, playful more humorous side, in a sort-of-sequel to his smash hit "American Gods."

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.

Trickster gods -- like Anansi, Loki, Kokopelli, or even a bit of Hermes -- are always the most entertaining part of old myths and legends. They're unpredictable, unmistakable, get all the best lines, and perpetually wild'n'crazy -- and they are also the worst kinds of dads you could imagine. They probably wouldn't make wonderful brothers, either.

So of course, Gaiman goes to town with "Anansi Boys," by simply forming a story around that idea: what if a trickster god had two kids, who were nothing alike, but suddenly had to deal with one another? Gaiman also sprinkles it liberally with corporate intrigue, romance, and the old Anansi legends (which he inserts periodically). Don't expect the darker overtones of "American Gods," because this is a very different story.

With this lighter tone, Gaiman sounds a lot like his pal Terry Pratchett, right down to wry humor and on-the-spot comic timing. And the dialogue is pure gold: "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. They're like yin and yang -- one brother is charming, conscienceless and self-consciously divine in his attitude, and the other is nervy, awkward and painfully mundane. Spider's charm leaps out from the page, while Fat Charlie is sort of Gaiman's "Charlie Brown." Don't worry, Fat Charlie improves as the book goes on.

Everyone gets annoyed by their siblings and embarrassed by their dad, but the "Anansi Boys" have a life more complex than most. Lighter than most Neil Gaiman books, but hilarious, dark and perpetually clever.
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on 5 July 2010
...although a few people have said that they didn't like the style of writing in this book, I feel that it is spot on. It's informal and comical, fitting the plot and characters, but it doesn't spoonfeed you all of the details - it's as much about what he doesn't write as what he does - so you have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps. The result is a style that is accessible, but not simplistic. The characters are written nicely, so you can have a laugh at their expense, or find them pretty sinister.

Ticks all the boxes for me. Really fun book, which I looked forward to reading, whenever I wasn't.
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on 10 October 2006
A heart warming and humorous look a the lighter side of Godhood, Anansi Boys follows Fat Charlie, son of the Spider God Anansi, as he tries to come to terms with the death of his absentee father, the arrival of his far more God-like brother, and the fact that his safe, reliable, predictable world is collapsing around his ears.

More in the style of Neverwhere than the superbly dark American Gods, Anansi Boys is a good read for all ages, with elements that will appeal to the light hearted trickster in all of us.

At times, the story feels a little drawn out, but this is more than compensated for by the humour and the ability of certain parts to have you turning pages well into the night.

Neil Gaiman's newly `discovered' talent for weaving myth and modern fiction into interesting narratives (not so evident in his earlier novels) at times grips, and at others can feel a little preachy, but if you're looking for good clean fun, then this book is definitely for you!
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on 29 December 2009
I often listen to audio books; I have dozens of them. However, this is, in my opinion, one of the best performed of my collection. I agree totally with I. Richardson. Lenny Henry does a magnificent job. He brings all his skill as a voice artist to the work. Such a talented man.
And, of course, the book's pretty good too. I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman. I'm totally over the moon with this recording.
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on 14 September 2006
Neil Gaiman continues to captivate and astound in equal measure. Like much of his previous work (Neverwhere, American Gods), Anansi Boys expertly combines elements of myth with the equally inexplicable (;oD) mechanics of interfamilial relations. Gaiman's style is effortless and unconvoluted- the book is remarkably easy to read. Indeed, this modern fairytale synthesises the extraordinary and the mundane in such a seemless fashion that the reader is returned to an almost childlike state of wonder, a period before the corruption of modern life insinsuates itself within the mind, and the shattering of credulity that marks adulthood.

A book that so lovingly expounds upon the seminal power of words and song is itself a pulsating work of art that deserves to be read by everyone.
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on 26 February 2014
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! When they are big and hairy is my husband that does the job of getting rid of them.

When I was reading this book instead of killing this unwelcome intruders I started talking to them, that’s what Anansi Boys does for you, expecting the unexpected. Doing the unthinkable! Even my husband asked me if I was alright and I told him it was a way to contact God. He told me if I continue doing it I might end in a mental asylum, and then I explained him I was reading a Neil Gaiman book, and that made things less weird and he replied: “ Ah! Good Old Neil, I see now where you coming from!”
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on 3 December 2010
This was a light, entertaining book, which did not tax the brain too much. I enjoy Gaiman's books and fans will find this up to scratch. I did find the 'extra content' funny...especially the book club questions at the end, after all, this is a light read not some Dickensian Classic.
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on 1 October 2009
Is it me or is Gaiman's writing getting lazy? I have been a keen follower of his work right back to the Sandman comics and Good Omens, both of which were 5 star. I thought Neverwhere was another classic. He is capable of really classy writing and good stories, but it's as if he can't quite be bothered to keep up the quality writing. American Gods was good but I noticed a bit of the Dan Brown in his writing with that one. Anansi Boys - it's even worse. For the first time in his works I've seen sentences that even I would be embarrassed to publish. While it is still readable and the surreal storyline distinctly his, like American Gods, I felt that he didn't know where he was going with the plot and could only be bothered writing good prose about half the time.
Please Neil, take twice and long for the next novel and get it right.
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