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
I truly enjoyed the story that this book told. A story of men and there dependence on gods and of gods dependence on men. I do however believe that it is unnecessary to pack it so full of the lewd and vulgar material; it was done so much that I felt it was distracting from the story as a whole. That being said I enjoyed the story very much, it was indeed the perfect mess.
There is a theory in psychology called the Johari Window. The premise is that people are like a four paned window. In pane 1, you and I both see certain truths about me. In pane 2, only I see the truths about me. In pane 3, only you see the truths about me (I'm blind to them), and in pane 4, no one, neither you nor I, can perceive those truths about me. In American Gods, Neil Gaiman (an Englishman) takes the challenge of showing us what he sees about us Americans that we cannot see ourselves (pane 3) and for this reason, the book succeeds as a sociological statement about the impact of how our immigration history and our humanism have combined to create beliefs as vast as the land we inhabit and a faith that is attached to that land with the fragility of moss.
Gaiman spins a beautifully literary story in the process of all his observations, covering more genres than I thought possible in one body of work, but doing so with a craftsman's eye. The story is intriguing on many levels, especially the symbolic, and he becomes so trusted an observer of America in the telling of the story that the reader finds himself reflecting on Gaiman's observations about our society and wondering how we might correct some of the paths we have chosen.
But, if a person is listening to the messages about the relationships between gods and Man, we find that Gaiman uses a symbiotic existence that explains both atheism and religion. Although I understand that he uses this as a literary device to tell his tale, I disagree with his explanation. I do not think gods are as dependent on man as he portrays, unless they are all man-made gods. But, then, this makes Man the Creator and the gods the dependents. This plays right into Gaiman's observations about our moral relativism as a culture (perhaps even as a species) and our desperate attempt to create meaning out of this nothingness. This is my only criticism of the novel: that for the spiritually or philosophically weak, there may be a temptation to abandon firmly held beliefs for the relativistic point of view that is promoted in this book. But for those just interested in the literary experience, I believe this book creates a unique experience like few others and it does so in a most creative way, both in the telling and in the performing of the story.
If you are looking for something that is a little mystery, coming of age (but in a non-conventional way), sci-fi, thriller, horror, and literary drama, then this is the book for you.
the book is fantastic, definitely worth the purchase. Only problem I had with the performance is it took a while to sort out shadow's voice from the narration. Other than that, very thought provoking, great plot and plot twists, and we'll worth the listen.
I read the first (shorter) edition of American Gods some years ago and loved it. This longer version is still good, but I don't think the additional text adds much to the book. In fact, I think the shorter version is tighter and the story moves along much better. The narration was fantastic, and of course the story is a fun, thrilling ride, but overall, I prefer the tightness of the first version. Gaiman's editor had the right idea. Although, if you can't get enough of Gaiman and want to live in his world and words as much as possible, you would enjoy this edition.
this is an impressive performance. shadow and odin's characters especially great imo. if you liked the book or are open to a current day gritty fantasy novel. this is for you.
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