While I've never been a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic series (my tastes tend to run to Miller and Moore, but I do still like Gaiman as well - the last is said lest I be branded a comic book heretic), I have truly enjoyed his novels. Both Neverwhere and Stardust are among my favorite novels of the past few years, and Gaiman is truly talented at evoking meaning from the juxtaposition of his contemporary settings and the eternal nature of myth. Personally, I was less enthusiastic about American Gods, although I still found it very well written.
His latest novel, Anansi Boys, returns to the same fertile ground: the combustible combination of humanity's contemporary cocoon of steel and glass and the flaming spark of the magic of ancient legend. While Neverwhere played with the theme of a fey underworld hiding just beneath our noses, and Stardust recast the questing nature of fairy tales, and American Gods presupposed (much like Harlan Ellison before him) that mankind hauled their "gods" with them across the Atlantic to the new world, in Anansi Boys Gaiman updates the classic tales of Anansi, the African trickster god who may have once been a spider, and was perhaps a man, and may yet be a spider still.
The original tales of the spider's cleverness flowed from West Africa across the Atlantic to North America, where he metamorphosed into the character often known as Aunt Nancy, or Bre'r Ananse, something of a counterpoint to Bre'r Rabbit, another manifestation of the triumphant trickster. In American Gods, Anansi made a cameo appearance as Mr. Nancy; in Anansi Boys, the mantle falls to his sons, Fat Charlie and Spider.
"Fat Charlie" Nancy leads a relatively comfortable life in London. He's not particularly fat, and he doesn't particularly enjoy his nickname, but his father gave it to him and well, whatever name his father gave something tended to stick. Charlie's got a somewhat mundane job with a talent agency that he doesn't really enjoy, and which generally involves placating irate clients who want to know where their money is. The best thing in his life, actually, would appear to be his very pleasant fiancée, Rosie (although Rosie comes packaged with a mother who doesn't like Fat Charlie much at all).