First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now, discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author's preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
A storm is coming....
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday's bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. It is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing - an epic war for the very soul of America - and that he is standing squarely in its path.
Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of "mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose" (Washington Post Book World) and as a modern phantasmagoria that "distills the essence of America" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is, quite simply, an outstanding work of literary imagination that will endure for generations.
©2011 Neil Gaiman (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
"This full-cast performance of the tenth anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods (think director's cut) is one of the most mesmerizing audio experiences ever.... Ron McLarty plays a randy, crusty old Odin disguised as a white-collar con man to perfection. Daniel Oreskes's Shadow, the hero who doesn't know quite what he is, is masterful. Oliver Wyman, who did Mad Sweeney the Leprechaun, is a genius. Hats in the air for the whole cast, a flawless production, and a tour de force of a tale." (AudioFile)
Despite the somewhat average rating, I actually really enjoyed this book overall. It's really well written, so much so that I'd be very keen to read more from this author. The premise is very unique and despite the title, I didn't actually know what to expect. It's also a very genre mixing type of book which makes it difficult to compare it to anything else I've read. There's a lot of quirky weirdness throughout the book and while most of it is the good kind, there are some scenes where it gets a bit much. I loved that it makes you think and I'm sure it'll annoy many people by the fact that a lot of the answers to questions brought up by the book aren't really answered in a straight forward way.
The writing is really the highlight of the book for me. I can't really explain the beautifully nuanced way in which everything is written since my mere mortal brain can only do so much. Nothing felt spoon fed to me and the experience of figuring things out was very rewarding. The characters were all very unique and although somewhat underdeveloped in most cases, I didn't really notice that until after I finished. There's a lot that happens and while some of the events feel unrelated or unimportant, overall, I didn't really mind. I think the foreword by the author describing the book as "meandering" primed me for it and so it didn't really bother me. That relates to the slow pacing as well, which again, I found I didn't really mind that much.
The only real gripes for me were with the meandering style, which made it hard to feel really engaged with the protagonist and his story. I personally loved the protagonist, but he was definitely hard to relate to. The third act also felt a bit underwhelming due to quite a bit of foreshadowing about a war and a lot of build up work done throughout the book which didn't really pay off. I think my general feeling is that it needed something more exciting or mind blowing to finish things off, which is why it got three instead of four stars in the end.
The handful of historical interludes between some chapters were great and gave some interesting context to the story as a whole. I listened to the full-cast audiobook version of the author's preferred text and it was amazing. The production was superb and the narration was really high quality. I really enjoyed the foreword and extra postscripts at the end that added a lot of context and explanation to the content.
It's a difficult book to recommend to many people due to its weird genre mixing, possibly confusing events and the unexplained questions that it brings up. I think people who are prepared to be patient and enjoy letting things unfold without getting too focused on details will appreciate it by the end. There's a lot to think about and I like that there's room for personal interpretations to quite a few of those questions. It's definitely not a perfect book, but it is worth a read if you enjoy good writing and unique premises.
Brilliant writing brought beautifully to life.
I don't usually love full casts, but this recording blew my mind. I'd wondered how an audiobook version would hold up against the characters I'd held so dearly in my heart for a decade, and the performers quickly captivated me and won my devotion.
I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle differences between this text and the original publication I'd read so long ago,and the author's notes before and after added a richness and value to this experience I couldn't have anticipated. Superb!
I wanted to read it before the TV show came out. I am so glad I did. It's a unique view of religion And beliefs and the characters are amazing. They audio book performance was also not notch.
Residential architect in Texas. Avid fan of Tolkien and Sanderson (are there 2 more opposite fantasy writers?) Very varied tastes in writing
This book has a ton of reviews, so my writing one at this point is more for me. I've read Neil's novel "Neverwhere" and throughly enjoyed that book, and there are a few similarities between these two books. The main problem is that in Neverwhere, there is a constant objective for the main character to achieve (even though by the end his goals change). American Gods, however, is much more ambiguous in what is trying to be achieved or why. They are both stories of "underworlds" or things that happen hidden from the everyday life we live, which is intriguing.
However, at times American Gods feels more like "Alice in Wonderland" in that the symbolism and mythology becomes so layered and (as the author says) "meandering", that you loose any sense of exactly what is going on or why, it just feels like some weird acid trip- weird thing after weird thing keeps happening without a point that you can really discern. (I'm sure if you chose to re-read it several times you could pick out the symbolism of each scene, but I'm not intrigued enough by the overall story to care or bother).
In the end, it all comes together enough to understand the general idea of what was a going on and who was trying to achieve what, but it gets very convoluted in the middle. Part of the reason for this is the way he wrote the main character, Shadow. Shadow does many things in the book without really understanding why, without emotion, without real motivation. He feel more like a device to move the plot forward than someone you really emotionally connect with; and with the story lacking a real point (or at least not one you are allowed to be told about or understand until very late in the story), Shadow's lack of caring about what happens to him also makes me care less about the story. I seriously thought about just stopping at the story climax when things just got so weird and I didn't really care anymore.
I liked the people in the story for the most part (Shadow's ambivalence aside)- they all had interesting interactions and felt complex and real, and the use of multiple people reading the story added to the characterizations, though this is the 1st time I've seen an Audible book do that. But the story had so many random supernatural scenes and settings and interactions that it was just hard to follow at times.
Neil also makes a big deal about this being a book about the "American experience", but if that is in here, it is VERY secondary to the work of fiction he is writing, and so subtle that it's hard to see that really being an influence. It's like being told that you are going to eat a steak with a certain spice rub on it, and a lot of talk is dedicated to telling you about the spice, but in the end it just taste like and ordinary steak. Very rarely do you get the sense that there is the thread of the American experience weaving everything together.
Also, (just FYI- possibly a spoiler, though I would have liked to have known before hand) there is a homosexual sex scene in the middle here that is described with more graphic detail than I was comfortable with personally. Maybe that was intentional by the author and he was trying to make a point, and he has the artistic right to do that. I just didn't care for it myself.
Obviously this book has been a huge success, but I was honestly disappointed and uninterested with the story, which is strange because Neverwhere really is an excellent book by the same author with many similar aspects. I'm probably going to return this one and get something else- if you happen to read this review and are trying to decide, i'd skip this one.
This book was engaging from the start and really draws you in. I knew within the first hour or two of listening that it was different than any other book I had read before. The full cast performance makes this book interesting to listen to from start to finish. Unlike other audio books where I can sometimes get bored and my mind can wander this book's unique story and top notch production kept me engaged the whole time. I took a chance on this book and not only was I pleasantly surprised, but afterward found out that it is very well known and has a huge following. So much so that there is a movie coming out on it pretty soon. I can't wait.
Simply a wonderful, incredible pilgrimage into the heart and soul of American myth and dream. A fantastic tale written by only one who has investigated the phenomenon from both the inside and the outside. Superbly narrated. Highly recommend.
Knowing there are other faiths and many perspective... this book was fun,
interesting, and in no way "preachy." Very ENTERTAINING- Not a commentary on faith, but one on American "religion."
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