Audiobook Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Title: Anansi Boys
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Harper
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Lenny Henry
First line: It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

Neil Gaiman should definitely read his own books for the audio versions. But, if he’s too busy, Lenny Henry is wonderful, too.

Gaiman’s Anansi Boys is the story of Fat Charlie Nancy. He’s an accountant living in London, happily engaged to Rosie Noah (though not thrilled about his future mother-in-law), and planning his wedding. He’s not discontented, but he should be, because his life is incredibly boring.

While planning the wedding, he learns that his father has died, and at the funeral – presided over by three hilarious old ladies: Mrs. Higgler, Mrs. Dunwiddy, and Mrs. Bustamonte – he is told that his father was a god, Anansi, and that he has a brother. Mrs. Higgler tells him that if he wants to get in touch with his brother, he should tell a spider. One night, Fat Charlie does just that – and the chaos ensues.

You never know what you’re going to get when you read a Gaiman book. Neverwhere is wonderful: dark, foggy, and damp, like the London underground the novel inhabits. Coraline is a creepy, scary story that thrilled the kids and I when I read it aloud. His short stories are horrific, fantastical, humorous, and sly, depending on which one you’re reading.

Anansi Boys is hilarious, bright, and mythical. It takes the old Anansi stories, about the trickster spider, and weaves them into our modern world. The result is often laugh-out-loud funny. The characters are richly drawn, and I won’t soon forget the severe Mrs. Noah, the spunky Maeve Livingstone, the slimy and evil Graem Coates, and police detective Daisy, with her frequent exclamation of “Bless!”

You can listen to a snippet of Henry reading Anansi Boys at Neil Gaiman’s blog – follow this link.

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24 Responses to Audiobook Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I’m always on the lookout for good audios. I loved Coraline and The Graveyard Book…Gaiman has such a distinct, quirky style. I’m off to the library website to see if they have this!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..My weekend of Cursillo =-.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    P.S. They had it! It is on its way!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..My weekend of Cursillo =-.

  3. Jessica says:

    I have yet to read a Neil Gaiman book although I do own Stardust and American Gods. Caroline does interest me and I must buy it. Thanks for the review.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Vampires =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Jessica – you’re welcome! And yes, you should definitely give him a try. Neverwhere, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book are all fantastic.

  4. Melissa
    Twitter: avidreader12
    says:

    I read this on audio as well and I second everything you said. This book was so funny and Lenny Henry was spot on. I love Gaiman and I agree that you never know quite what you’ll get, because his books are so different. If you haven’t read Stardust you should. It has a lot of the same humor as Anansi Boys.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Book Reviews =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Melissa – I recently won Stardust in a giveaway, so I hope to read it soon!

  5. Belle
    Twitter: msbookish
    says:

    I will definitely have to add this one to my list – it sounds just wonderful!!
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..Focus, Focus, Focus =-.

  6. I’ve read 2 Gaiman books and enjoyed them both, so I really do need to explore more of his work.

  7. Aarti says:

    I just got this book the other day! I’m so excited to read it, and I’m thrilled you reviewed it so timely (well, for me). I adore Gaiman. Have you read American Gods? I think they are somewhat companion pieces.
    .-= Aarti´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: Do you fall for the hype? =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Aarti – yes, they occur in the same fantastical world, but are different – American Gods is darker, I’ve heard. I tried to read it, and the first few chapters had something that was disturbing – I’m not a reader of horror, and I just couldn’t get the images out of my head. I hope to try it again sometime, though, when I get a little braver. :)

  8. heidenkind says:

    Dumb story: I picked this up to read once but I was totally confused because I thought it was supposed to be about Anasazi. *facepalm*

  9. Trisha
    Twitter: Trish422
    says:

    I enjoyed American Gods more than Anansi Boys, but still I completely agree with your comments about the story. I usually don’t do audio books, but I think Gaiman would be great on audio.
    .-= Trisha´s last blog ..Beautiful Blogger =-.

  10. softdrink says:

    I wanted to love this one, but it fell a bit flat for me after the awesomeness that was American Gods.
    .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Don’t barf and drive =-.

  11. Kristen
    Twitter: booknaround
    says:

    I’ve never read Gaiman but I do really think I should. This might be the one to start with.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Review: Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kristen – As much as I loved this one, I’d start with Neverwhere if I were you. :)

  12. amy s. says:

    I’ve been wanting to read this. Good review. Audiobook may be the way to go.
    .-= amy s.´s last blog ..Choice Quote: Nora Ephron =-.

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