Reviews for Anansi Boys


Booklist Reviews 2005 August #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gaiman exploits the conceit of his prizewinning American Gods (2001)--that the gods of America's immigrant peoples are living in retirement, sort of, among us--for the purposes of a romantic screwball comedy seasoned with murder, magic, and ghosts. For feckless Fat Charlie Nancy--who actually was fat only between ages 10 and 14, during which period his mother left his father in Florida and took Charlie with her to England--his glad-handin', practical-jokin' father has always been an embarrassment, and things just get worse after the old man croaks. At the interment, the neighbor lady tells Charlie he has a brother, and to ask a spider for him if he wants to get in touch. One drunken night back in London, Charlie takes the ludicrous advice. BLAM-O! Spider (that's his name) arrives, steals his girlfriend (she thinks Spider's Charlie), gets him terminated (and put under police suspicion by his embezzling boss), sets him bouncing between London and Florida by airplane and between our reality and that of ancient African animal-gods by seance, and has him winding up, after some pretty scary goings-on, with a new life and a new love on the Caribbean isle of St. Andrews. Charlie and Spider are, you see, their father's sons, and since he was/is Anansi the trickster-god, they can pull some pretty nifty stunts, though Charlie takes awhile learning how. As for Gaiman, he's the folksy, witty, foolishly wise narrator to perfection, drawing us into the web he weaves as skillfully as any . . . spider. ((Reviewed August 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 July #2
The West African spider-trickster god Anansi presides benignly over this ebullient partial sequel to Gaiman's award-winning fantasy American Gods (2001).In his earthly incarnation as agelessly spry "Mr. Nancy," the god has died, been buried and mourned (in Florida), and has left (in England) an adult son called Fat Charlie-though he isn't fat; he is in fact a former "boy who was half a god . . . broken into two by an old woman with a grudge." His other "half" is Charlie's hitherto unknown brother Spider, summoned via animistic magic, thereafter an affable quasi-double and provocateur who steals Charlie's fiancé Rosie and stirs up trouble with Charlie's blackhearted boss, "weasel"-like entrepeneur-embezzler Grahame Coats. These characters and several other part-human, part-animal ones mesh in dizzying comic intrigues that occur on two continents, in a primitive "place at the end of the world," in dreams and on a conveniently remote, extradition-free Caribbean island. The key to Gaiman's ingenious plot is the tale of how Spider (Anansi) tricked Tiger, gaining possession of the world's vast web of stories and incurring the lasting wrath of a bloodthirsty mortal-perhaps immortal-enemy. Gaiman juggles several intersecting narratives expertly (though when speaking as omniscient narrator, he does tend to ramble), 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. Everything comes together smashingly, in an extended dénouement that pits both brothers against all Tiger's malevolent forms, resolves romantic complications satisfactorily and reasserts the power of stories and songs to represent, sustain and complete us. The result, though less dazzling than American Gods, is even more moving.Intermittently lumpy and self-indulgent, but enormously entertaining throughout. And the Gaiman faithful-as hungry for stories as Tiger himself-will devour it gratefully. Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2005 May #2
Strange things are happening to Fat Charlie; his dad dies, and then someone turns up claiming to be his long-lost brother. Is Fat Charlie in for some fun? Maybe tinged with terror? With a 12-city tour; a one-day laydown on September 20. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Library Journal Reviews 2005 August #1
Fat Charlie's life is about to be spiced up-his estranged father dies in a karaoke bar, and the handsome brother he never knew he had shows up on his doorstep with a gleam in his eye. Next thing he knows, Fat Charlie is being investigated by the police, his fianc‚e's falling in love with the wrong brother, and he finds out that his father was the god Anansi, Trickster and Spider, and that the beast gods of folklore are plotting their own revenge upon his family bloodline. A fun book with a little of everything-horror, mystery, magic, comedy, song, romance, ghosts, scary birds, ancient grudges, and trademark British wit-it shares ideas and characters with American Gods but conveys a more personal look at the dysfunctions unique to a family of dieties (now this would be one reality show definitely to watch!). Another lovely story as only Gaiman can tell it; necessary and recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/05.]-Ann Kim, Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 July #3
If readers found the Sandman series creator's last novel, American Gods, hard to classify, they will be equally nonplussed-and equally entertained-by this brilliant mingling of the mundane and the fantastic. "Fat Charlie" Nancy leads a life of comfortable workaholism in London, with a stressful agenting job he doesn't much like, and a pleasant fiancee, Rosie. When Charlie learns of the death of his estranged father in Florida, he attends the funeral and learns two facts that turn his well-ordered existence upside-down: that his father was a human form of Anansi, the African trickster god, and that he has a brother, Spider, who has inherited some of their father's godlike abilities. Spider comes to visit Charlie and gets him fired from his job, steals his fiancee, and is instrumental in having him arrested for embezzlement and suspected of murder. When Charlie resorts to magic to get rid of Spider, who's selfish and unthinking rather than evil, things begin to go very badly for just about everyone. Other characters-including Charlie's malevolent boss, Grahame Coats ("an albino ferret in an expensive suit"), witches, police and some of the folk from American Gods-are expertly woven into Gaiman's rich myth, which plays off the African folk tales in which Anansi stars. But it's Gaiman's focus on Charlie and Charlie's attempts to return to normalcy that make the story so winning-along with gleeful, hurtling prose. Agent, Merrilee Heifetz of Writers House. 16-city author tour. (On sale Sept. 20) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 January

Adult/High School -Charles "Fat Charlie" Nancy leads a normal, boring existence in London. However, when he calls the U.S. to invite his estranged father to his wedding, he learns that the man just died. After jetting off to Florida for the funeral, Charlie not only discovers a brother he didn't know he had, but also learns that his father was the West African trickster god, Anansi. Charlie's brother, who possesses his own magical powers, later visits him at home and spins Charlie's life out of control, getting him fired, sleeping with his fiancée, and even getting him arrested for a white-collar crime. Charlie fights back with assistance from other gods, and that's when the real trouble begins. They lead the brothers into adventures that are at times scary or downright hysterical. At first Charlie is overwhelmed by this new world, but he is Anansi's son and shows just as much flair for trickery as his brother. With its quirky, inventive fantasy, this is a real treat for Gaiman's fans. Here, he writes with a fuller sense of character. Focusing on a smaller cast gives him the room to breathe life into these figures. Anansi is also a story about fathers, sons, and brothers and how difficult it can be to get along even when they are so similar. Darkly funny and heartwarming to the end, this book is an addictive read not easily forgotten.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale

[Page 172]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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