Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I bought it for the library and decided to do my duty and preview the book--just a little to get the flavor of it. I loved it and couldn't stop reading (I know, that's the story of my life!) But really, you've gotta read this book!
It's the story of Charlie Nancy, a guy who has a nice fiance, a decent apartment, a job (not so nice) and a life in England. He finds out that his dad has died. He's been estranged from him for years because his dad was a huge embarrassment. He was always tricking Charlie into doing silly things--like one time Mr. Nancy told his son that it was a custom to dress up as your favorite president on President's day. So Charlie researched and learned and found a costume and went to school dressed up as a president but guess what? His dad was kidding! Mr. Nancy was also the life of every party and the center of everyone's attention wherever he went. And did I mention, he also didn't work much but spent his life dancing and fishing.
So, Charlie goes back to Florida to be the dutiful son and attend the funeral. After the funeral, he's given some very strange news by some old ladies who were friends of his father's. His dad was not just Mr. Nancy but A. Nancy. Anansi. The trickster in African folklore. Well, if this wasn't so outlandish, the trickster part would explain a lot of Charlie's embarrassing moments courtesy of his dad. But to be told that your dad is a god is just pretty unbelievable. Then the ladies also reveal that Charlie has a brother. To contact him, the ladies said, just tell a spider (yes, an arachnid) that you'd like to see your brother and next thing you know, he'll be knocking on your door.
Charlie flees the weird world of Florida for his safe home across the Atlantic and tries to put it all behind him. But one night, he finds a spider in his bathtub and on a whim, tells him to send his brother. That was the beginning of the end. Charlie's brother, known as Spider, shows up on his doorstep and unleashes a whirlwind around Charlie. He takes him out partying, causes trouble with his fiance, creates havoc at the office and somehow turns Charlie's spare bedroom into a luxurious suite complete with a tropical waterfall.
Add some murder, a fugitive, a case of mistaken identity, a cute police officer and you've got a terrific story. Read it!
Many stories herein are subject to the faulty, and sometimes creative, memory of the blog owner and should not be taken as factual, although the names and events are real! Kind of.