The Mermaid Chair
Reading Guide
  1. ANANSI BOYS combines a modern-day story with myths, legends and visions that should be unbelievable, yet Neil Gaiman creates a world in which the extra-ordinary is completely acceptable. How does he achieve this?

  2. ‘Comedy’ is too loose a term to describe the humour in ANANSI BOYS. What are the different forms of humour in the novel, and what part do they play in the drive of the narrative?

  3. Fat Charlie and Spider begin as polar opposites, but during the novel Charlie incrementally, and with great subtlety, regains his spider-side. Where are the turning points in Charlie’s character, and when did you realise he was no longer Fat Charlie? How does Spider change?

  4. Maeve’s indignation at becoming a ghost is endearing, but her desire for vengeance is very powerful. Which other characters seek vengeance, and how does this overwhelming desire for revenge affect them?

  5. How do Fat Charlie’s dreams and visions influence the story? Why are his dreams important?

  6. Do you think there is a place for myth, legend and fantasy in a modern, atheist, consumer society? As contemporary culture is increasingly defined by truth and transparency, have we lost the ability to believe in the irrational and mysterious power of myth?

Other books by Neil Gaiman:

American Gods
Smoke and Mirrors