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Days before his release from prison Shadow's wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash Numbly he makes his way back home On the plane he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday who claims to be a refugee from a distant war a former god and the king of America Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to breakScary gripping and deeply unsettling American Gods takes a long hard look into the soul of America You'll be surprised by what and who it finds there This is the author's preferred text never before published in the UK and is about 12000 words longer than the previous UK edition


10 thoughts on “American Gods

  1. says:

    I find myself shocked at the awards this book has won and the praise heaped upon it How on Gods’ Earth could a book about Gods walking on the Earth among mortals be so pedestrian? Somehow Gaiman managed to turn a potentially cool premise into something boring For those who love this book—and I know it is many—please forgive the sarcasm to follow as I blaspheme against the beloved Gaiman But Gods help me the I read the I hated American GodsFirst off while the premise sounds interesting the I thought about it the less I liked it The basic idea the worshippers a God has the powerful they are The plot there is a building power struggle between the old Gods Norse Native American pagan etc and the new Gods Technology Television Money etc Okay I’ve heard the ratio of worshippers to power idea before so that’s not so original But it’s not a deal breaker It has potential Here’s the uniue twist in American Gods that caused my political antenna to start twitching—every God like say Odin has an “avatar” of him or herself in each country Or is it each continent? Gaiman’s not uite clear about that Would there be an Odin in Belgium and Luxembourg? Or does all of Europe get one Odin who is different from the American Odin? I find it politically disagreeable to suggest that every country or even continent has different God avatars To make this the premise turns intangible political entities nations into strictly bordered spiritual containers It’s parochial thinking I disagree with this premise radically because I reject that people of a given “nation” are somehow bonded spiritually Countries are artificial Like Afghanistan Like how we stole the native people’s land to form America I ascribe to the perspective that while people should always be fighting for political freedom and better political systems locally and nationally we are truly citizens of the world together The premise of American Gods manages to privilege the people in one country as somehow being united in their spiritual energy feeding the Gods only within that country As a metaphor Gaiman repeatedly feels the need to state that this premise is a metaphor it fails There should be no metaphorical boundary between my spirit and my sister’s and brother’s spirits in Nicaragua even if we have different local needs Further I could go on about how old Gods religious deities are in cahoots with modern Gods like wealth and technology Just look at the fact that all the evangelists support the party of the 1%Political oversensitivity on my part aside the rant continuesThe main character Shadow was about the dullest hero I’ve ever read For Gods’ sake how many times do other characters have to refer to how “big” he is? Is he a big man? He sure is big Wow you’re big Apparently he’s big Is he big? Oh boy is he a big man Yep he’s big He was big and boring and one dimensional So pure of heart that it grated on me I found the majority of his dialogue to be trite and conventional He struck me throughout as a pawn of the author and yes he was a pawn of the Gods too than a real being His words were missing that spark of believability to bring the character to life I didn’t even believe his repeated sleight of hand behavior It felt like a character trait on a chart that Gaiman could pull out every couple of chapters And when it came to the other God characters? I just wasn’t feelin’ it They seemed phony as all get out I did not find his representation of them credible I think my reaction to their characterizations were primarily due to a reaction to mediocre dialogue The dialogue wasn’t awful but I found it to be consistently off—slightly awkward slightly unnatural subtly stiltedMost of the story was told in very close third person from Shadow’s point of view But every once in a while Gaiman would throw in a chapter from another character’s point of view These chapters read in some ways like short stories inserted into the novel to expurgate some backstory elucidate the Godworshipper premise in detail or delve into a side character I find such techniues utterly amateurish One or two “interludes” in a book might be acceptable but to have an entire story driving in a close third person POV and then jump into another character because you can’t “explain something” from the primary POV is cheap It’s an easy out I react badly when authors feel the need to “explain things” to begin with And to interrupt the flow of the structure you’ve created to do so pisses me off It made me feel as though Gaiman were talking down to me as the reader like I was a little kid who didn’t get it Or like his storytelling just wasn’t good enough to tell the story without jumping out of it to explain it Understanding should come organically Or else the POV jumping should happen freuently such as every chapter It’s all about rhythm of storytellingSwathes of American Gods were just plain boring About 23 of the way through I started skipping whole paragraphs then pages to get to plot events All the stuff between the plot events was trying my patience Shadow spends a great deal of time stuck in a small town in northern Wisconsin meeting all these good hearted locals and exploring bits of small town life I felt like I was stuck in a small town in northern Wisconsin during the winter the whole time I’m like—this is not freaking Housekeeping and Gaiman sure ain’t Marilynne Robinson He does not have the writing chops to pull off an intimate look at real small town lifeModest spoiler view spoilerThe entire chapter where the old Gods meet the new Gods in truce made no logical sense Even if the place they met was neutral due to its magical ualities the new Gods simply had to track the trucks when the old Gods drove off and bomb the hell out of them It was just this weird excuse to have some conversations between the old and new between Shadow and the new Gods And to get that body back Contrived hide spoiler


  2. says:

    In 2003 I walked away from my childhood religion – a high control some would say abusive group with a tiny little worldview and a severe superiority complex This was my realityI believed with all my being that the things depicted above were real and were just over the event horizon Leaving meant losing almost every friend I had ever made since childhood it created a rift with my still devout family and uite possibly saved my life Is it any wonder that fiction – alternate realities fantasy and mental escape – helped me make that decision helped me move on and helped deprogram my cult think? One fiction supplanted the other only this time I already knew I was working with stories Some of this fiction I had read many times not understanding why the stories resonated so strongly within me just knowing that I was compelled to return to those worlds over and over Others were stories I read during the time surrounding my breakaway and shortly thereafter American Gods made me observe and think differently It gave me a new context for the mythologies I had accepted for most of my life It was bigger than the story of Shadow or the girl Sam or Czernabog For me it was about how we allow our Old Gods to define our present worldview and how we allow our New Gods to steal our awareness Our mythologies set the boundaries of our culture and paradoxically as our culture changes our gods sacrifice their immortality Religions are by definition metaphors after all God is a dream a hope a woman an ironist a father a city a house of many rooms a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert someone who loves you even perhaps against all evidence a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team army business or marriage thrives prospers and triumphs over all opposition The part of the story that affected me the most profoundly was the story of Hinzelmann and Lakeside The mixing of good and evil the blurring of lines townspeople looking the other way – to such a degree that it never occurs to them to see what is happening right under their noses Dead men's bones Deaths of legends It affected me to my core During the time I was reading American Gods it was this which rocked me – I was doing the same thing – choosing and keeping and killing my own Gods my own mythologies It was tremendously painful made a little easier by having the opportunity to process it within the bounds of somebody else's storyThe rest of the listDuneChapterhouse DuneFahrenheit 451Animal Farm1984SandmanCrisis of ConscienceUnder the Banner of HeavenSeductive Poison


  3. says:

    This is a tough review for me to write I'm not exactly sure what it is about this book that I don't like I'm not sure there even IS something I don't like Since I don't want to just leave you all with the ever popular I'm just not that into it I will try to explainThis book has all the elements of a book I would enjoy The creepiness factor is up there the writing is brilliant the main character is a big lug I couldn't help but love Also I have always been fascinated by mythology so that's a plusShadow is our main character and he just got out of jail after doing his time of three years Right before he is supposed to be released he is let out early because his wife was killed in apparently scandalous circumstances The first 50ish pages were about the extent of where the book was interesting to me Shadow meets Wednesday and then the story turns into a bunch of mini stories and flashbacks and I didn't enjoy most of them Some were okay but the majority just felt like annoying disruptions and I felt myself thinking this is yet another longer book that could benefit from losing about 100 or so pages from the dragging middle Shadow is paid by Wednesday to be an errand boy while he travels America trying to rally his troops in preparation for a war between The old Gods and the new Gods media and money I guess it's my own fault I couldn't really bring myself to care about this war between the new and old Gods because the Gods of Media and Money? Not my GodsBooks that are hyped up as much as this one leave me in a place where I tend to get disappointed because it's so hard to live up to those expectations Of course that's not the books fault but I was just expecting to like this book much than I did I never felt engaged while reading this book and that's the reason I couldn't rate this above three stars I could appreciate the great writing and originality however so I couldn't give it below three starsThree stars it is folks but as most of you know this book is loved by almost all so of course I encourage everyone who is interested in this book already to read it and form your own opinions This book didn't do it for me but I am definitely going to try some of Gaiman's other books and see if I have a better experience


  4. says:

    Anybody who tells you that the book is about old and new gods or about a man named Shadow or about coin tricks or about having one's head smashed in for losing a game of checkers is selling you a line because those are just details not the story itselfMuch like any Neil Gaiman story the devil is in the details and you just have to resolve yourself to coming along for the ride or you'll miss it It's not one story or two it's many and it's all completeand you have to just read it and enjoy it and accept it Or just don't botherI might as well sell you a violin as sell this book to you or pluck a synopsis of it from behind your ear and then deposit it in my hand only to have it turn into a critical review while your attention is elsewhere But I won't you'll just have to find the magic yourself


  5. says:

    Read Gaiman they say I can't believe you've never read Gaiman You have GOT TO read Gaiman Gaiman is SUCH an important part of popular culture and one of the BEST contemporary writers You HAVE TO READ GAIMANWell I've read Gaiman nowHi GaimanBye GaimanLet me uote American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet a scary strange and hallucinogenic road trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spiritI agree with everything but the beginning and the end It certainly was scary strange and hallucinogenic None of it in a good wayI like nothing about this book Not liking it isn't very difficult because I have honestly no idea what was going on Not that I didn't get the actual story it wasn't that hard since Mr Gaiman sure isn't the most demanding writer that isn't meant as a criticism it can be a good thing But why the things that were going on were going on completely eluded me And while I kept on reading and wondering 'huh? why? What now?' in the end it all came up to Why should I care?This isn't my kind of book mainly due to the subject and the characters That's why I don't think anything Gaiman wrote would be my kind of book It certainly isn't a book or an author you HAVE to readI guess this like that strange car race video game and Star Trek will be parts of popular culture that will have to live without me


  6. says:

    Whenever we have a cold snap here in Wisconsin I find myself thinking about one of my favorite pieces of American Gods I remember reading it back in 2002 or so This was back in the day Back when it was a bit of a secret that Gaiman lived in Wisconsin I read the following section of the book nodding to myself thinking Yup that's exactly what it's like Then I had another thought I bet this comes from that really bad cold snap we had here in Wisconsin about six years ago It was pretty cool for me being able to guess where a this piece of this book got its start For those of you who haven't read it here's the excerpt The main character Shadow has just come to a small Wisconsin town and he decides to walk into town to buy some warmer clothes and groceries The cold snap had come that was for sure It could not be much above zero and it would not be a pleasant walk but he was certain he could make it into town without too much trouble What did Hinzelmann say last night—a ten minute walk? And Shadow was a big man He would walk briskly and keep himself warm He set off south heading for the bridgeSoon he began to cough a dry thin cough as the bitterly cold air touched his lungs Soon his ears and face and lips hurt and then his feet hurt He thrust his ungloved hands deep into his coat pockets clenched his fingers together trying to find some warmth Step after step after step He glanced back The apartment building was not as far away as he had expectedThis walk he decided was a mistake But he was already three or four minutes from the apartment and the bridge over the lake was in sight It made as much sense to press on as to go home and then what? Call a taxi on the dead phone? Wait for spring? He had no food in the apartment he reminded himselfHe kept walking revising his estimates of the temperature downward as he walked Minus ten? Minus twenty? Minus forty maybe that strange point on the thermometer when Celsius and Fahrenheit say the same thing Probably not that cold But then there was wind chill and the wind was now hard and steady and continuous blowing over the lake coming down from the Arctic across CanadaTen minutes of walking he guessed and the bridge seemed to be no nearer He was too cold to shiver His eyes hurt This was not simply cold this was science fiction This was a story set on the dark side of Mercury back when they thought Mercury had a dark side This was somewhere out on rocky Pluto where the sun is just another star shining only a little brightly in the darkness This thought Shadow is just a hair away from the places where air comes in buckets and pours just like beerThe occasional cars that roared past him seemed unreal spaceships little freeze dried packages of metal and glass inhabited by people dressed warmly than he was An old song his mother had loved “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” began to run through his head and he hummed it through closed lips kept pace to it as he walkedHe had lost all sensation in his feet He looked down at his black leather shoes at the thin cotton socks and began seriously to worry about frostbiteThis was beyond a joke This had moved beyond foolishness slipped over the line into genuine twenty four karat Jesus Christ I screwed up big time territory His clothes might as well have been netting or lace the wind blew through him froze his bones and the marrow in his bones froze the lashes of his eyes froze the warm place under his balls which were retreating into his pelvic cavityKeep walking he told himself Keep walking I can stop and drink a pail of air when I get home And that my friends is one of the many reasons I love Neil Gaiman


  7. says:

    A 81% | Very Good Notes The concept's pretty brilliant but the plot can be slow and plodding at times and the end doesn't live up to the build


  8. says:

    No denying that this one is a big boi A long boi Extra extra page boiBut was it worth all that paper?Click the link for my video review of the big bois in my lifeThe Written Review Gods die And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered Ideas are difficult to kill than people but they can be killed in the end The Old Gods brought over by immigrants Wild fantastical tales of elephant headed men and trickster spiders Of power and lust Of fear and worshipThe New Gods created by the immigrants' descendants Gods of money media and might Newly formed out of the hopes dreams and desires of a people who've long since forgotten the Old Gods A storm is coming The New Gods though young and foolhardy know what they want and they want to take the world from the Old Gods Caught in the crossfires is one very human ex prisoner named Shadow The ideas Neil Gaiman comes up with are simply stunning It's hard to describe this book it's all encompassing This story feels so old and established almost like it's a legend passed down from generation to generation It crossed every genera from romance to murder mystery to mythology absolutely seamlessly I really loved all of the New Gods that Gaiman createdThere's The Technical Boy God of the internet and computers The Black Hats Gods of Conspiracy theories and shady ideas And my personal favorite Media the Goddess of the Television The TV's the altar I'm what people are sacrificing toWhat do they sacrifice? asked ShadowTheir time And of course because it's Neil Gaimanthere's a bunch of weird sex thrown inbecause reasonsLiterally one of the Old Goddesses ate a man alive with her womanhood Another time Shadow was really injured and was healed through painfully descriptive sex magic Aside Does anyone really know why Gaiman always does this? Can't we have one book where everyone keeps their clothes on?And if that wasn't confusing enough in between the man eating labia and sex bandaidswe get absolutely adorable uotes like this What I say is a town isn’t a town without a bookstore It may call itself a town but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul or this The house smelled musty and damp and a little sweet as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long dead cookies Sometimes I really want to know what goes through this man's headand then againmaybe not Still this was an extremely interesting read and one of the few Gaiman books that I enjoyed from cover to coverAudiobook CommentsExtremely well read by Dennis Boutsikaris Daniel Oreskes Ron McLarty and Sarah Jones Each major character had a different voice actoractress and it really enhanced the audio The accents sounded accurate to my untrained ear and the whole book was immensely enjoyable to listen to The Finer Books Club 2018 Reading Challenge A book based in your home stateYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat mirandareads Happy Reading


  9. says:

    My first thought on this bookThis is a 25 to 3 star book max for me I am pretty sure this will be my last Neil Gaiman book I have tried two others Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter Witch and The Ocean at the End of the Lane and one of those was okay Omens and one of them I couldn't stand OceanI realize that my feelings on Gaiman and his books are contrary to popular opinion but they are just not my cup of tea They are slow They seem intentionally odd and artsy By the end I just don't care any I think trying 3 of his books shows I have given him a good chance but now it may be time to part waysAmerican Gods has its interesting storylines that is why I have rounded up to 3 stars but overall I didn't see the point I expected some really interesting stuff to happen between all the Gods and mortals but instead I got sometimes boring sometimes unintelligible speeches or really odd occurrences that come out of nowhere and make no sense In general I am not really sure why any of it happened other than Gaiman spewed forth some really weird stream of consciousness This was the same way I felt about The Ocean at the End of the LaneSo if you love Gaiman keep on reading But don't fault me for not caring for is style after several tries it is just how I feel and I don't think it is going to get any better


  10. says:

    In this uniue love letter to the United States Gaiman manages to celebrate its underground spiritual traditions glory in the magnificence of its landmarks landscapes and bizarre tourist traps and most important both mourn and venerate its pagan often immigrant gods in decline battered and diminished though they may be by the shallowness and speed of our technological world The gods are indeed the best part of this very good book degenerate and threadbare yet still gods capable of inspiring both allegiance and terror Gaiman loves not only fantasy but also mystery and horror and here he has constructed a book which fulfills the genre reuirements of all The plot is complicated and crammed with marvels the beginning promises pleasures and horrors the middle disturbs the balance and the ending surprises and yet satisfies