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
My goodness. This has been one of the strangest books I've ever encountered. Very long and lots of "stuff" in it that wasn't sure was necessary. Nonetheless, the book was ok. I liked the ending.
The change is speakers took a few minutes getting used to, but now it has spoiled me. They did such an amazing job I will definitely be looking for other audio books in this style.
I am a big fan of some of Neil Gaiman's other work, but I doubt I would have made it through American Gods without the performances of such a fine cast. Even as it was, it took me weeks of bedtime hours to get through, but I enjoyed it. It was a great mood piece, if not a seat-gripping thrill ride. I still find myself wondering how Shadow and the gang are doing.
**Spoilers** Warning, this review is very "stream of consciousness". The author was very good at keeping my attention moment to moment with his interesting way of writing and all the little quips and observations. However, every aspect of the story seems to live in its own little world and nothing feels connected. Random example... the missing girl in the town that Shadow went to. It's some big mystery where she went, But it just turns out to be some old guy in the town and it's not really connected to any other part of the story.
Pretty much all the people Shadow visits don't really ever connect to anything... like one of them he has a beer with later while he's dead, Mr. Nancy never really does anything but hang out and call him stupid, zorya gives him a coin that's the moon then he gives it back even though she's not the one that saves him, the buffalo in his dreams just says random stuff then later says he's "the land", czernobog says he's gonna crush his head then changes his mind (though wondering what would happen with that was interesting.) Bilquis is introduced very early on and you assume she's going to do something interesting and then she just gets killed later. "The fat kid" gets introduced very early on then doesn't reappear until near the end of the book and he never does much besides whine a lot. There are like 2 hours where they talk about slaves coming to America that has nothing to do with the rest of the book. The pixies or whatever are mentioned many times but never pop up (though it's mentioned they are present at the battlefield at the end.)
I think you could BS your way through explaining each of these individual points, but it would be like trying to connect everything together with a few strands of thin fishing line rather than a strong webbed lattice of rope. The story structure feels very meandering too. The key points are hit for a moment but aren't allowed to resonate. For example the objective of the story is explained at the right time (that Wednesday wants to unit the old gods against the new) when all the gods meet up and Shadow sees their true forms. However, before and after that there is very little talk about the purpose of Wednesday's mission. It hits these points but it doesn't talk long enough to let them sink in.
The book is enjoyable to read moment to moment as Neil Gaiman's little quips and observations are pretty fun. Some of the characters like Wednesday and The Fat Kid and Bilquis (near the beginning) are fun characters to read.
The performance is good, though I think whoever did Laura's voice didn't do a great job.
As I said, this review is very "stream of consciousness", I felt very unsatisfied by the story and am trying to articulate why without having to sit here for two hours writing a review. I see a similar sentiment in other reviews that it's not really easy to explain this book to other people, and I believe that's because it's very meandering and has a lot of pointless and unconnected plot threads, and the overall story structure isn't punched in well enough.
If you have enjoyed any of the other works by Neil Gaiman you will enjoy this one as well. The performance were great and the pacing excellent. He is a great writer and I can't recommend him enough.
this story worked so well with a full cast. it was immersion and really sold the world Gaiman created. can't recommend enough!
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