''Anansi Boys'' is a 2005 novel by Creator/NeilGaiman, set in [[TheVerse the same fictional universe]] as his earlier ''Literature/AmericanGods'', although not a direct sequel to that story -- more of a LighterAndSofter spinoff, and it was conceived earlier. The protagonist is the nice but unambitious and chronically unlucky Charles Nancy -- nicknamed 'Fat Charlie' by his father at age 10 and dogged by the name ever since, despite not actually being fat -- who's somewhat nonplussed to be told that his recently deceased father was the African trickster god Anansi. Oh, and the reason Fat Charlie doesn't have his dad's godlike powers is that they went to the brother he never knew existed, who he can contact by giving a message to a spider. Not believing a word of this, Fat Charlie nevertheless gets drunk and tells a spider to invite his brother to come for a visit.

Within a couple of days of Spider turning up, Fat Charlie has lost his job and fiancée, and is also wanted by the police. Willing to do anything to make his brother go away again, he finds a way to contact the other gods and makes a deal. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero And then things start to]] ''[[NiceJobBreakingItHero really]]'' [[NiceJobBreakingItHero go wrong.]]

LennyHenry has voiced Fat Charlie for both the audiobook and a BBC Radio adaptation. A film version allegedly fell through because [[ExecutiveMeddling the studio]] wanted [[RaceLift a predominantly white cast]] (despite the characters' Caribbean heritage being central to the mythic elements of the story), and Neil Gaiman steadfastly refused. However, he eventually resumed working on an adaptation, which has recently been rescued from DevelopmentHell by production company Red, [[http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/04/neil-gaiman-american-gods-anansi-boys-tv who will produce a mini-series for BBC based on the book.]]
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!!This book provides examples of:
* AMythologyIsTrue: While it is [[AllMythsAreTrue part]] of the same universe as ''Literature/AmericanGods'', this story deals exclusively with West African mythology.
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: Fat Charlie's father even ''dies'' in an embarrassing way.
* AnimalMotifs: Grahame Coats' is a weasel. [[spoiler:He even takes that form when he gets sealed away with Tiger.]]
* {{Animorphism}}: [[spoiler: Grahame Coats by the end of the novel.]]
* BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler:For Charlie anyway. Spider hasn't gotten there yet.]]
* BigDamnHeroes: A wholly unexpected role for venomous spiders.
** [[spoiler: Maeve Livingstone]] might also qualify
* ButtMonkey: Fat Charlie though it wears off by the end.
* CallingTheOldManOut: Fat Charlie does this to Mrs. Higgler.
* ClicheStorm: Any attempt to converse with Grahame Coats results in this; he seems to think an abundance of well-worn un-witticisms make him seem far smarter than even a single original thought ever could. When he [[spoiler:takes Rosie and her mother hostage]], it even describes how delighted he is to have whole new vistas of clichés open to him that he never would have gotten to pull out otherwise. [[invoked]]
* ClosetSublet: When Spider comes to visit, he stays in Fat Charlie's closet. Kind of. The closet door actually opens up into a ridiculously big room somewhere tropical.
* ContinuityNod: Spider takes his coffee "dark as night and sweet as sin," just like the Slavic deities in Literature/AmericanGods.
* TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch: The fate of the former dictator of the Caribbean island where the second half of the novel is set. After ruling with an iron fist for decades, he died by "falling out of bed". His fall was apparently hard enough to break a number of bones, and he didn't survive despite all of his bodyguards being in his room during this time, who did everything they could to "help" him.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Grahame Coats
* CompellingVoice: Spider's even works on computers, though it's apparently more a matter of ''lies'' than ''orders''.
* CreepyCrows: The Bird Woman, one of ''many'' people who are still upset at Anansi's antics.
* DarkSkinnedBlond: Lion.
* [[DatingWhatDaddyHates Dating What Mommy Hates]]: Part of Rosie's reason for dating, and eventually becoming engaged to Fat Charlie.
* DeadpanSnarker: Charlie and Spider.
* DemonicPossession: [[spoiler:Grahame Coats by Tiger, starts subtly after he kills Maeve.]]
* DivineParentage: Charlie and Spider are the sons of the god Anansi.
* DoubleStandardRapeDivineOnMortal: Spider uses his supernatural powers to convince Rosie that he's her fiance and has sex with her when she believes he's someone else. [[spoiler: They end up together in the end.]] Of course, all he really did was tell him he was Fat Charlie. [[TheCasanova She slept with him entirely for his own qualities]]. [[spoiler:She does feel confused and conflicted about it when she finds out the truth, especially since she really did fall in love with him, and his feelings of guilt about the matter are what drives him to confess.]]
* EnfantTerrible: [[spoiler:Charlie, before Spider is split off from him.]]
* FakeBrit: [[invoked]] Charlie is said to have spent years trying to overcome his American accent to sound British.
* FakingTheDead: In one of the stories about Anansi, he pretends to be dead after requesting that he be buried in a vegetable garden so that he can sneak out of his grave and eat all of the food (while his family slowly starves). [[spoiler: In the main story, Anansi has "died" so that people will stop taking him for granted. He intends to come back to life in about 20 or 25 years.]]
* FeatheredFiend: The Bird Woman, who's got a bone to pick with Anansi's bloodline.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Fat Charlie has a dream about Anansi, who goes off on a tangent about starfish.
** Happens again when Fat Charlie goes to the cliffs at the end of the world to find someone to deal with Spider. He meets Monkey, who says two things that later prove to be portentous.
--> '''Monkey:''' [[spoiler: Who are you? What are you? You seem like half a thing.]]
--> '''Monkey:''' (On learning that Anansi is dead) [[spoiler: Dead there. Maybe.]]
* FourthDateMarriage: [[spoiler:Two of them. In a strange way it kind of fits with the text because, well, they're gods.]]
* FullNameBasis: Grahame Coats is always referred to by his full name in the narrative.
* FruitOfTheLoon: A lime becomes a ''very'' important plot element.
* GiantSpider: A rare, rare friendly example.
* HellBentForLeather: Spider is almost always seen in a black and scarlet leather jacket.
* HijackedByJesus: Anansi really liked stealing other peoples' fables and myths, or at least claiming they were based on his antics.
* InformedAttribute: Fat Charlie was never actually fat or even very chubby but merely a little bit pudgy. By the time the story started, he hasn't been like that for years but the nickname stuck anyway.
* InhumanResources: Grahame Coats fires his employees just before they qualify for the severance package; Fat Charlie is unusual in this regard, as Coats found him so useful that he's been employed for an unprecedented two years. This ends up biting Coats in the ass; [[spoiler:when he tries to pin his embezzlement on Fat Charlie, his employee turnover rate is all the evidence the police need to put together the fact that the embezzlement predates even Fat Charlie.]]
* InWhichATropeIsDescribed
* ItsACostumePartyISwear: When he was little, Mr. Nancy told Charlie that President's Day meant you actually dressed up as your favorite President. Hilarity ensued, for Nancy, at least, when Charlie, not wanting to be just another Lincoln, Washington, or Kennedy, went as Taft.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold:
** Mr. Nancy tends to swing wildly between the two.
** Spider.
* KavorkaMan: Mr. Nancy and Spider.
* LadykillerInLove: Spider with Rosie, leading to some confusion on his part, as this usually doesn't happen to him.
* LaserGuidedKarma: After an incident with his cab driver, Fat Charlie finds himself forced to carry a lime everywhere, because word got around about the man with the lime and everyone demanded to see it.
* LighterAndSofter: Compared to ''Literature/AmericanGods'', this is almost pure comedy. It's as good, though.
* LittleBitBeastly
** The gods of the animal pantheon all have characteristics of the animals they're based on, such as tails, whiskers -- and extra nipples.
** Anansi himself is either this or a FunnyAnimal, whichever he needs. It's all in how you tell the story.
* MagicalCamera: Early in the book, Spider passes into a photograph to travel to the location it shows. He later mentions he can go to any location he's seen, including by picture.
* MagicMusic: It was used to create the world, apparently, and it's also one of Anansi's powers, usually resulting in some sort of RealityWarp. [[spoiler: Once Charlie Nancy embraces his heritage, he can use this power as well.]]
* MaliciousMisnaming: Fat Charlie, no matter how hard he tries, can't escape from it [[spoiler:until he realizes his powers.]]
* MyopicArchitecture: A police specialist bemoans Grahame Coats' security arrangements, pointing out that he installed a wonderfully secure door, then hung a lock on it that the specialist picked effortlessly. His exact words are that a five-year-old could jimmy it with a spoon handle. The specialist probably got it open by sneezing at it.
* NeverMyFault: Grahame Coats. He even finds a way to blame Maeve (The woman he murdered) for his unhappiness. Eventually he decides Charlie/Spider is to blame for uncovering his shady dealings.
* NiceHat:
** Mr Nancy's lime-green fedora.
** Which goes on to belong to [[spoiler:Charlie Nancy, instead, and is nice enough to vanquish his old nickname, to boot.]]
* TheNicknamer: Mr. Nancy is a supernaturally good example; when he nicknames something or someone, everyone else automatically starts using the nickname even if they've never been told it before.
* NoChallengeEqualsNoSatisfaction: Generally Spider considers his ability to make people believe or do what he wants them to a good way to have fun with people, but when he starts to get emotionally close to someone he feels a lot more conflicted about it.
** Grahame Coats as well. After he runs to the island, he gets dangerously bored.
* NoNameGiven: Is Rosie's mother ever referred to as anything other than Rosie's mother or Mrs. Noah? (Her name is Eutheria Noah, but it's only mentioned once, and it states that no one ever used her name but her husband, and he's dead now.)
* NonIndicativeName: Fat Charlie was never fat. Between the ages of ten and fourteen he was slightly pudgy, but the nickname got created and stuck.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Grahame Coats [[spoiler:killing Maeve Livingstone]]. He goes downhill from there.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: right up to the point when Fat Charlie [[spoiler:[[TookALevelInBadass figures out his powers]]. From the next sentence, the narration and the other characters just call him 'Charlie'.]]
* PantsPositiveSafety: Grahame Coats sticks a few unsheathed knives through his belt. [[spoiler: He later receives a GroinAttack, causing him to fall down and stab himself badly in the thigh and bleed out.]]
* PerformanceAnxiety: Charles Nancy has it so bad, he passes out when he gets up on stage to perform earlier in the novel.
* PhysicalGod: Mr. Nancy, Spider and the rest of the animal pantheon. [[spoiler: Fat Charlie too, eventually.]]
* RaceLift: Averted; executives wanted to recast the leads as white for the film, despite the fact that most are black, and African heritage is something of a plot point for the eponymous brothers. Gaiman shut 'em down.
* RascallyRabbit: It is mentioned that some trickster rabbit stories were initially Anansi's.
-->The story of the Tar-Baby, the one they tell about Bre'r Rabbit? That was Anansi's story first. Some people thinks he was a rabbit. But that's their mistake. He wasn't a rabbit. He was a spider.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Parodied. Mrs. Nancy writes to Fat Charlie from China that their Chinese food is terrible, and she'll be wanting the ''real'' Chinese food after she gets back home.
* RealityWarper: Spider. He claims all one has to do is "Show Reality who's boss".
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Daisy, although she's outnumbered by many unreasonable ones.
* SandInMyEyes: "I'm not crying. It's the rain on my face." Mrs. Higgler isn't fooled.
* SealedEvilInACan: What happens to [[spoiler:Tiger and Grahame Coats]].
* SiblingYinYang: Charlie's the nicer, uninteresting, and mundane brother, while Spider is all charm, swagger, and magic. [[spoiler:They both even out later on in the book.]]
* SinkOrSwimMentor: Mr Nancy after a fashion. When his son [[spoiler:was first split]] he commented that if he couldn't fix it himself he ([[spoiler:Fat Charlie/Spider]]) was no son of his(Nancy's).
* SinsOfOurFathers: The people at the Cliffs at the end of the world refuse to help Fat Charlie because Anansi had done most of them wrong at some point. Especially the Bird Woman and Tiger.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Grahame Coats.
* SmugSnake: Grahame Coats.
* SplitAtBirth: Not quite at birth, but at such a young enough age that Fat Charlie didn't know he had a brother. [[spoiler: Because technically, Spider isn't Fat Charlie's brother; he's an aspect of Fat Charlie's own personality who got split off and sent away by an angry old woman who knew some magic.]]
* StarfishCharacter: They even explicitly refer to it by the old trope name.
* StealthPun: Daisy was named Daisy because at the time of her birth, her parents owned a tandem (a bicycle built for two).
* TheTrickster: Anansi, ever so much. So was Charlie, until he got split. Then Spider got all the tricksiness and Charlie was left as the responsible one.
* TwinThreesomeFantasy: Grahame Coats has one of these about Maeve Livingston and her hypothetical identical naked twin sister, Maeve II.
* UndignifiedDeath: It doesn't succeed, but at one point the Bird Woman tries to kill Spider with a flock of flamingos.
** Anansi too. Heart attack on stage while singing karaoke, falling over and ripping the tube-top off of a blonde tourist from Michigan in the fall? He did it on purpose. It was hilarious.
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler:Grahame Coats has a slow and subtle one starting with him killing Maeve, allowing Tiger to step in. Characters note later how he appears to have lost it.]]
* WeNeedADiversion: Provided by Mrs Noah and her [[FanDisservice astonishingly bony bum]].
* TheYardies: Referenced after Fat Charlie is arrested, as he notes that his neighbors now believe he is one of these.
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