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American Gods

A Novel
Gaiman, Neil (Book - 2001 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
American Gods
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The storm was coming.... Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place. On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose, accepts. But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and Shadow soon learns that his role in Wednesday's schemes will be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Entangled in a world of secrets, he embarks on a wild road trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter -- all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does. Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought -- and the prize is the very soul of America. As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an America at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. Magnificently told, this work of literary magic will haunt the reader far beyond the final page.
Authors: Gaiman, Neil
Title: American gods
a novel
Publisher: New York : W. Morrow, 2001.
Edition: 1st ed.
Characteristics: 465 p. ;,25 cm.
Local Note: 1 6 16 17 23 27 35 53 109 112 118 122 143 148 159 160 167 172 193 203 210 222 224 228 231 235 242 250 268 270 272
Also available as an ebook (HarperCollins).
Alternate Title: American gods (ebook)
ISBN: 0380973650
Statement of Responsibility: Neil Gaiman
Subject Headings: Widowers Fiction. Bodyguards Fiction. Ex-convicts Fiction. Spiritual warfare Fiction. National characteristics, American Fiction.
Genre/Form: Fantasy fiction-2001.
Topical Term: Widowers
Bodyguards
Ex-convicts
Spiritual warfare
National characteristics, American
LCCN: 2001030407
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Jul 16, 2014
  • firered81 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The most accurate comparison that I can make about this book is that it is Percy Jackson for adults. Old gods such as Odin and Anansi the Spider. New gods that have been created by our worship of the m have however risen to kill the old gods and take their place in the hearts and minds of man. These new gods are the gods of television, fast-food and so forth. The book follows Shadow, a man recently released from jail on his dark journey with Odin to stop the new gods.

Mar 09, 2014
  • forbesrachel rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Old gods linger in America. Without the belief of humans, they are now remnants of their once powerful selves, and in their place is a new generation. Gods of science, technology and modern conveniences reign. However, both sides fear their fickle worshipers, and seek to fight for their very existence.

Shadow, a human, is dragged into this battle, and as he meets these deities, whose very surroundings match their ancient and decrepit selves, we feel sadness and sympathy for a dying race. Many of the world's gods appear, some in only a cameo, while others play a more substantial role. In such limited space, there is little time to expand on the life story of each. So the author intersperses chapters throughout to show in general how these gods came to America, and what their life has been like since.

All the gods are reduced to a more physical nature; they have adapted to the modern world and rely on money and transportation like anyone else. Unlike the modern gods who are briefly thriving under such conditions, the old ones use whatever methods that are necessary to acquire the belief of humans.

The gods may say cryptic things, and are most certainly mysterious, but there is no greater mystery than Shadow himself. His origins, his readiness to just accept the impossible, and the reason Mr. Wednesday wants him, seem inexplicable and unconnected at the beginning. Hints are well hidden, and it takes key events to eventually reveal the surprising truth.

Within this complex blending of myth and reality, one of the greatest deceptions ever conceived is played out. While much that happens is mind-bending and magical, it only takes one thing to enjoy this thrilling ride....a willingness, for one moment, to once again believe in gods.

I am learning so much about the Gods - there is so much that I didn't already know. I am excited to get my hands on a mythology book for futher reference.

Jan 09, 2014
  • edapeach rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

American Gods is riveting. It’s smart, complex, beautifully written and imaginative. If you like fantasy with intelligence, you will enjoy this read. I could not put it down. The fantasy integrates old world gods with uniquely American 20th/21st century gods and asks the fundamental questions about the gods: did they create us or did we create them.

Oct 07, 2013
  • LT rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Honestly, this book deserves more stars, I'm just responding on the basis of my personal reaction. Immensely complex, surreal yet credible.

Aug 27, 2013
  • librarylizzard rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was a joy to listen to on audio. Spectacular narration aside the story was enthralling - forgotten gods from all beliefs forced to make their way in modern day America as cab drivers, petty criminals, prostitutes etc? Sign me up! Even though the main character, Shadow, is a convict violating his parole I found him to be by far the most respectable, reliable character. I would love to read a book of short stories just focusing on the gods and their various predicaments.

Aug 14, 2013
  • seaeffess rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Delightful, and begs a sequel.

I prefer the prose style here to that of his short fiction collections; in fact, it's his first non-graphic prose which I finished and loved.

Sometimes when we label a book "fantasy" we refer by-and-large to a genre which caters to readers who cannot seem to deal with the challenges of the real world and/or the literature supposedly written to reflect it. But rarely, we label a book fantasy because it uses vehicles which defy our moral or scientific conventions to tell one of the many of our old stories.

"American Gods" happens to be labeled fantasy, and earns the genre somehow; plot holes are ironed-over, glossed-over, or both, with merry abandon. If you care, you've missed the point.

Amusingly, Gaiman does a lot of work wondering about the nature of Americana, Americanism, and the identities of the people who live in the United States. While reading it (as an American) I was struck by the musing that perhaps the only way to directly address the shape of "The American Experience" is to be, to some extent, an outsider.

American Gods is delightful. The prose is, at times, unsubtle to the level of meat-cleaver, but if you want subtlety go read Hemingway and be happy with yourself.

Feb 12, 2013
  • GuyN rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I agree with GoatGirl that this is many styles of book in one. It starts as a roman picaresque (a hero's traveling adventures) set in various "heart of America" locales. Soon this travel novel becomes interwoven with a pantheon of the different gods immigrants have broght to America. This brings in a sci-fi or fantasy or paranormal (take your choice) aspect to the rambling plot. Certainly there is a sprinkle of speculative fiction and a dash character development in the mix too. Although I didn't find the book perfect (I spent a lot of time not quite knowing what was going on or where Gaiman was going with all this), I think you should read this interesting book. Interesting people read it.

A good book, though I did not like how he introduced some characters and then killed them off later on

Jan 21, 2013
  • pw5490 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I couldn't really understand it. I'd advise catching up on your folklore knowledge, otherwise you'll be a little lost on this one.

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Jun 24, 2014
  • Sophie2798 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Sophie2798 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 03, 2013
  • Jeroman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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Aug 14, 2013
  • seaeffess rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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hDlVivace thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Mar 27, 2012
  • Dr_Inferno rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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Mar 01, 2011
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Jun 10, 2008
  • jabey rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

jabey thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Coarse Language: Used in conjunction with the sexual content at times. Other times swearing is prevalent with R-rated language. But language is carefully controlled to an extent and not used unneedlessly.

Jun 10, 2008
  • jabey rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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Jun 24, 2014
  • Sophie2798 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

What should I believe? thought Shadow, and the voice came back to him from somewhere deep beneath the world, in a bass rumble: Believe everything.

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