Thoughts on: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

May 7, 2012

About:
American Gods
by Neil Gaiman is an award wining fictional book. The book blends fantasy, Americana and mythology to create a unique story from the brilliant mind of one of today’s top writers.

  • 624 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380789035

Book Review: American Gods by Neil GaimanMy rating for American Gods –5

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Thoughts:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Web­site | Face­book | Twit­ter) is fascinating, titillating, smart and funny. This is not a light read on vacation because the book asks you to suspend reality and be immersed in it. Mr. Gaiman makes many cultural references, societal commentary (not always good) and loads of mythological elements weaved into this fascinating story.

The book’s main character takes us through a journey which weaves a tale of how the old gods (Odin, Thor, Anubis, elves, leprechauns, etc.), who were brought over to the US by immigrants, are dying because people stopped believing in them to favor the new gods (media, celebrities, technology, money and more). The scenery takes place mostly on the back roads of the United States where the protagonist meets gritty folks who, despite the storyline, are believable and real.

The plot is inventive to say the least and the book resonated with me on many levels, the American journey, a quest, personal identity, religion (or lack there of) and more. Even though the book was published in 2001, I think that it’s story and messages are especially powerful after the financial meltdown of 2008.

I don’t want to give too much away as this is a wonderful book, but the storyline gets much more complex, interesting and fascinating.

Synopsis:
The book follows “Shadow” upon his release from jail due to the death of his wife in a car accident. Shadow gets a job as bodyguard for a mysterious man named Wednesday. As they travel across the US visiting Wednesday’s friends it is slowly reveled that Wednesday is an incarnation of Odin who is recruiting the old gods for an epic battle against the new gods in order to regain their power and status.

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through the Man of la Book Affil­i­ate Account

Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I bought this book.

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9 Comments

  • Brooks May 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I read American Gods long before I started by book blog, but it’s my favorite Neil Gaiman novel. I remember that I didn’t know what to expect when I started it and that I was surprised and delighted all the way through. I’m so happy you liked it too!

  • Zuzana May 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I love Neil Gaiman’s books, and American Gods is one of my favorites. To me, it’s as though Lewis Carroll and Gabriel Garcia Marquez got together to pen a tale — it’s magical reality, mythological fantasy, and the metaphorical quest for life’s answers, all wrapped up in one. It’s melancholy, humorous, mysterious, and sometimes a bit like being at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. It stays with you. I especially love the characters of the old gods and the deft way in which Gaiman relates the anguish, regret, and resignation of their slow fade from consciousness. Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful read!

    • Zohar - Man of la Book May 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      American Gods is very gripping, isn’t it?
      Like you I found the mood of the book very appealing.
      In a strange sort of way.

  • Jonathan May 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve heard good things about American Gods, and I’ve been interested in reading it for a while now. You’ve only stoked the fire, Z.

    And on a side note–over 600 pages? Whoa! Must be brilliant writing. These days you don’t get a traditionally published book that length unless it’s a killer book.

    Jonathan @ I Read a Book Once

  • helen maryles shankman May 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    This book sounds great! I’ve been wanting to read something by Neil Gaiman. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Ryan May 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I remember loving this book when I read it. I no longer own it, but I do have it’s sequel, which I have yet to read.

  • Michael @ Literary Exploration October 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Adding to my TBR

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