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Anansi Boys
By Neil Gaiman

Discussed February 2007

Buy Anansi Boys from Amazon.com
Buy Anansi Boys from Lambda Rising

Questions

Cast of Characters

Charles "Fat Charlie" Nancy
Spider, Charlie's brother
Anansi, Charlie's father
Marcus, Charlie's son
Rosie, Charlie's FiancÚ
Mrs. Noah, Rosie's mother
Detective Constable Daisy Day

The "Macbeth Witches" (Charlie's neighbor during childhood)
- Mrs. Bustamonte
- Mrs. Dunwiddy
- Mrs. Callyanne Higgler
- Miss Noles

Grahame Coats, Charlie's boss
Maeve Livingstone, a widow Grahame's been embezzling from
Morris Livingstone, Maeve's husband (a duppy)

Various gods, including Bird and Tiger

Locales:

UK, Florida, Saint Andrews, and Myth-Places

  1. Discuss the use of song, stories, and mythology used in the story.
  2. Many fantasy novels are set in their own worlds where the authors may adjust the parameters of that society and landscape to suit the needs of the story. Gaiman breaks this tradition by setting his fantasy in our own contemporary world. Discuss the effects and implications of this choice.
  3. In the book, pragmatists are hit with a dose of unreality, which they cannot deny to be real. Fantasists are walloped upside the head with a dose of reality, being brought down to earth with a solid thump. What journeys were the following characters on? Did they have a destination? Did they reach their destination? What did they learn along the way?

    Fat Charlie
    Spider
    Rosie
    Daisy
    Grahame
    Maeve

  4. Charlie looks for a mermaid with his dad at the beginning of the story and sings to a mermaid with Marcus at the end of the story. What is the significance of the mermaid, if any?
  5. Did you like this book? Why or why not?
  6. One of the patterns of this discussion moderator's life is preferring the destination to the journey. I prefer getting on a plane to get to my vacation destination instead of taking a cruise as my vacation. I prefer action/adventure movies to slow/drawn out dramas. Traditionally high fantasy bores me. ("Four books just to throw a ring into a volcano?!?") Some were surprised I liked this book. Why do you think I liked this book?

Additional Web Resources:

http://www.neilgaiman.com/
http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gaiman

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