Anansi Boys is a 2005 novel by English fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, dealing with the son of the deceased African trickster figure Anansi. The book expands on the concepts put forward in American Gods, but is not a sequel to it as such.
The book is fairly light in tone for a work of Gaiman's, and is also much more realistic in its setting than his other works. Much of the humor of the book comes from the fact that the protagonist, Fat Charlie Nancy, despite being the son of a trickster god, is not particularly colorful or magical, but is instead a shy, unassuming man who works as an accountant. When his father dies (as much as a god can die, something that is not quite resolved in the text), he returns home from London to America and finds out something of his parentage. He also finds that he has a long lost brother, named simply Spider, who seems to have inherited all the trickery and magic of his father. Although he is disbelieving of this at first, he quickly has his life turned upside down by the intervention of Spider.
At this point, the plot breaks away from being a comedy of manners into a slightly more serious thriller or mystery, with lots of romance and supernatural elements thrown in for fun. Gaiman weaves different plot threads, and then brings them together in the oddest of ways towards the end, where the heroes find their love, the villains get their comeuppance, and everyone learns a valuable lesson.
The book is immensely readable, being something that could easily be finished in an afternoon. In fact, it might be hard to not read it that quickly, since the plot is structured as a page turner. Apart from being an involving mystery, it is also pointedly humorous to see the supernatural interact with London's daily life. However, other than the fact that the book is tightly plotted and well written (interjection: why am I telling geeks that a Neil Gaiman book is tightly plotted and well written? you all already know that!), I am not sure what Gaiman was aiming for in this book. The moral of the story, that stories (especially trickster stories) encourage people to think in terms of intellect and creativity, and that this is better than the raw aggression that we would have without them, is a good enough moral, but in some ways I feel that it is almost Disney-grade. Much of the plotting, with all the characters finding their destiny and romantic bliss, also has a cinematic touch to it. These are not large criticisms, they are perhaps just Gaiman trying something different given some of the grimness he has written in the past. On the whole, however, I don't know if the book will be remembered as particularly profound.