Anansi Boys is a 2005 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It is a sequel of sorts to American Gods, but it’s more of a connection than a continuation. American Gods has a character named Mr. Nancy and Anansi Boys is about Mr. Nancy’s two sons. The main character is Charles Nancy, who given the terrible nickname of Fat Charlie by his father. Fat Charlie grew up resenting his father and has willingly lost contact with him. One day he finds out that his father is dead and that Fat Charlie has a brother. Fat Charlie is shocked to learn that his father was actually a god named Anansi, a spider-like trickster and a storyteller. Fat Charlie also finds out that his long lost brother is also a god named Spider. Fat Charlie and Spider have a mini family reunion, but Spider quickly disrupts Fat Charlie’s life and nothing will ever be the same again.
Fat Charlie makes a shady pact with another god in order to get Spider out of his life once and for all. But that deal backfires and sets the plot in motion. Fat Charlie learns about gods and the family business and the power of stories. I don’t even want to go into any more details than that because this novel takes you places that you didn’t think you were going to. All I can say is that Neil Gaiman has a way of making the fantastic seem completely plausible and that Anansi Boys will blow your mind.
It’s not as good as American Gods. But if you liked American Gods, you’ll still enjoy Anansi Boys. If you’ve never read either, start with Anansi Boys because it will whet your appetite. Every character, every paragraph, every line has a meaning and a purpose. You can’t read a Neil Gaiman book once. You might appreciate it after one reading, but you won’t understand it until you reread it. You should probably read it at least three times to pick up all the nuances and subtle uses of foreshadowing. This is a great book and another triumph from Neil Gaiman.
Critically Rated at 15/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young