Author: Neil Gaiman (audio book voiced by Lenny Henry)
Title: Anansi Boys
Publication Date: 2005
Number of Pages: 334
Part of a Series: Yes. Sequel to American Gods
- African Diaspora
- All Myths Are True
- Caribbean Mythology
- Divine Parentage
- Fat Charlie Nancy
- Feathered Fiend
- Magical Realism
- Mythopoeic Fantasy
- Petting Zoo People
- Reality Warper
- Trickster Gods
- Urban Fantasy
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: Present day England, Florida, & the Beginning of the World.
- Fat Charlie Nancy: A perpetually-unlucky accountant, who is terrified of singing.
- Spider: Charlie’s brother and an exceptionally cool person, and if you don’t agree, you will after he tells you to.
- Anansi: A Spider God who weaves mischief and stories wherever he goes, he decides to die for a bit and let Charlie and Spider learn to weave stories for themselves.
- Grahame Coats & Tiger: A sociopathic showbiz agent who loves clichés and idioms, and a sociopathic Big Cat God who hates clichés, idioms, and Anansi.
Plot Summary: Tormented by his father’s embarrassing antics throughout his life, Fat Charlie Nancy does not get the respite he expects when his father unexpectedly (and rather embarrassingly) dies. Instead, he gets the benefit of a long-lost brother, who steals his identity, gets him arrested, and seduces his fiancée. In order to get rid of him, Fat Charlie has to go an unusual route, for his father and brother are gods. Unfortunately for Fat Charlie, the bargain he makes to rid himself of his brother has a price he didn’t expect. The family must reunite to fight off the wrath of gods and men, and to save the people they love.
Appeal: This humorous urban fantasy features parallel worlds, the magic of the gods, and a story of mythic significance, of good versus evil. Throughout the book Gaiman provides Anansi stories for those readers who are not familiar with the god. The book provide multiple points-of-view, in which the characters journey to self-discovery, to find their identity as humans and as gods; the book explores how much magic and divinity are related to the will and confidence to use them. The story unfolds leisurely, but picks up pace near the end of the novel, with the interjections from other parts of the story adding to the anticipation. The language of the story is interesting, because many of the characters are of Afro-Caribbean origin; the dialog is written in an accent, but not a phonetic accent, so readability should not be a problem. Additionally, Lenny Henry does an excellent job of portraying the accents in the audio book.
Brief quote: pg. 213: Spider turned, and said something else that sounded a lot like ‘frigate.’ There may not have been a million penguins waddling and slipping and belly-sliding toward the brothers, but it certainly looked that way. As a general rule, the only things properly terrified by the approach of penguins tend to be small fish, but when the numbers get large enough . . . .
Prizes or Awards: It debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and has won many awards, including the Locus Award, an annual award from Locus, a magazine that published news and information about the Science Fiction and Fantasy industry, the British Fantasy Society Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 2006. It also won the Alex Award, awarded by the ALA for books written for adults that appeal to young adults.
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, Humorous urban fantasy take on Armageddon (the film Dogma is loosely based on it).
Robin McKinley, Sunshine, Urban fantasy that, although dark, is upbeat; Gaiman praised the book.
Special Features: The last page includes an illustration of a spider by Neil Gaiman.
Reviewer’s Name: Natalie Garner
Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.