It begins, as most things begin, with a song. (from the first line)
|Charlies dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spirit of rebellion able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. When he dies on a karaoke stage, things get very interesting for Charlie.|
|From the Publisher:
One of fiction's most audaciously original talents, Neil Gaiman now gives us a mythology for a modern age -- complete with dark prophecy, family dysfunction, mystical deceptions, and killer birds. Not to mention a lime.
God is dead. Meet the kids.
When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times bestseller, American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny -- a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him."
Cult-favorite fantasist Neil Gaiman's unique blend of myth and popular culture runs gloriously amok once again in this novel, set in the same milieu as AMERICAN GODS. Just as AMERICAN GODS followed the adventures of Shadow, the son of the American incarnation of the god Wotan/Odin, ANANSI BOYS focuses on Fat Charlie, the son of Mr. Nancy, the American incarnation of the West African trickster god Anansi the Spider. When Mr. Nancy unexpectedly dies on a Florida karaoke stage, Charlie must confront his difficult and often humiliating heritage in two ways, via not only the cheerful but dangerous anarchy of his hitherto unknown brother, who sets about seriously messing up Charlie's life, but also the malice of Tiger, Anansi's immortal foe.
British writer Neil Gaiman is an artist whose creativity does not limit itself to a particular medium or genre. The creator of popular works for adults and children, Gaiman is perhaps best known for his graphic novels. He has, however, also written critically acclaimed novels and collections of short fiction, as well as scripts for films and television, poems, and even song lyrics. His works cross genre boundaries, touching on fantasy, science fiction, horror, comedy, and fairy tales. A New Yorker article ("Kid Goth," 01/25/2010) quotes Alan Moore describing Gaiman's work as, "kind of fey in the best sense of the word. His best effects come out of people or characters or situations in the real world being starkly juxtaposed wit this misty fantasy world."||Born in 1960 in Portsmouth, Gaiman grew up in East Grinstead in West Sussex. His family is of Polish-Jewish origin, and although his parents remained deeply connected with Judaism, they were also practicing Scientologists. In fact, his father held an official position with the Church of Scientology until his death in 2009. (This would at times complicate young Neil's life--at one point he was denied entry to a primary school because of his father's affiliation.) Although Gaiman rejected Scientology as an adult, he did meet his first wife, Mary McGrath, while she was also studying Dianetics. ||Gaiman's first published work was journalistic, and throughout his 20's he actively pursued work writing for magazines and newspapers. He wrote a never-published biography of the band Duran Duran. In 1987 Gaiman bridged his non-fiction work and the creative fiction that would become his forte with the publication of DON'T PANIC: THE OFFICIAL HITCHHIKER'S GUID TO THE GALAXY COMPANION. In the 1980s he also became friends with British comics author Alan Moore (THE WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, etc.), and through this friendship, Gaiman started getting work writing for comics. He made a name for himself, albeit perhaps as an underground figure, with his SANDMAN series, published between 1989 and 1996. This nine-time Eisner Award winning series follows Dream (aka Morpheus), the lord of the dream world--along with his often-bickering siblings Death, Despair, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, and Delirium--on various mystical and gothic adventures. ||Dysfunctional families return as a theme for Gaiman, notably in CORALINE, a children's book that topped the best-sellers charts in 2002 about a young girl who enters a parallel reality where she finds a much more satisfactory family. Other stand-out work includes THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS (2003), a book illustrated by Dave McKean which was adapted for opera; novels AMERICAN GODS (2001), ANANSI BOYS (2005), and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (2008), which adapted Rudyard Kipling's THE JUNGLEBOOK; as well as co-authoring the script for Robert Zemeckis's BEOWOLF. Always attuned to trends and innovations, Gaiman was one of the first writers to keep a blog, launching his effort in 2001. As of 2010, he had 1.4 million readers.||A family man himself, Gaiman has three children with his first wife. Over the years he has formed several celebrity friendships, including with musicians Tori Amos and Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. In January 2010, he announced his engagement to singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls. At that time, Gaiman was living in Minneapolis, where he moved from England in 1992.
"[M]anages to be both really scary and really funny at the same time."
"[E]bullient....Gaiman juggles several intersecting narratives expertly....Everything comes together smashingly....[E]normously entertaining throughout." (starred review)
"[A] brilliant mingling of the mundane and the fantastic....[G]leeful, hurtling prose." (starred review)