Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

Thanks, Deb, for reminding me about this book!

373951So, last week, I wrote about sequels that I would love to see. I forgot about the sort of sequel that Gaiman wrote about five years after American Gods called Anansi Boys. It’s set in the same world, but has a completely different story. In this world, gods are still alive–though not necessarily all well–and mostly working little scams for a living. But they keep magic alive in the world, if nothing else. The book opens with Fat Charlie Nancy receiving word that his father, who he didn’t know was the god Anansi, has died in possibly the most embarrassing way possible. Shortly thereafter, he learns that he has a brother. And when that brother stops by for a visit, things go to hell in just the way you’d expect when a trickster comes to visit.

Charlie, who isn’t actually fat, is an accountant for a money management agency. (His father gave him the nickname and when Anansi names someone, the name sticks.) He’s engaged to a very nice girl whose mother hates him, and he spends an awful lot of time trying to avoid causing a fuss or embarrassing situations. When his brother arrives and starts to mess up his life, Charlie does to great (and supernatural) lengths to try and get rid of them. His efforts trigger a divine grudge match and changes the book from an amusing comedy of errors into a thrilling, multidimensional battle.

In spite of the godly doings in the latter half of the book, Anansi Boys feels like it’s happening on a slightly smaller scale than American Gods. Fewer pantheons are represented, for one. But it’s not a lesser book by any means, though. It’s still a journey to discover who one really is, coming to terms with history and heritage, and finding real love.


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