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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

November 24, 2017


Neil Gaiman’s genre isn’t typically my thing. Although I went through a Clive Barker phase in college, it’s been twenty years since I picked up anything resembling this kind of modern gothic fantasy. I knew Gaiman’s name mostly from his popular Sandman graphic novels and the fact that he was mentioned in a Tori Amos song (I used to be a huge fan), but when I saw that there’s a new American Gods show that looks interesting, I decided to give the book a read. This is Gaiman’s 10th Anniversary expanded edition of the book.

American Gods is the story of Shadow Moon, a kind of criminal errand boy. Upon Shadow’s release from prison just days after his wife is killed in an accident, he is recruited by a mysterious man named Wednesday. Shadow becomes our vehicle into an underworld populated by a cast of gods, some ancient and some modern. Characters personify gods from Norse, Egyptian, Irish, Germanic, African and Native American mythology, though the gods have relocated to scattered small towns across the central U.S. and live a neglected existence. They are joined by a host of new American gods—a god representing media, one representing the Internet, another of roads, another of the stock market. It is a not-so-subtle commentary about the things Americans hold sacred. These ancient and modern gods inhabit a world that spans the living and the dead.

The plot is part travelogue, part detective story, part thriller scribbled across an epic dreamscape. The remixed symbolism allows it to be completely original, yet feel somewhat familiar. The characters are fun and the imagery spectacular, making this long book an energized and compelling read.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 25, 2017 5:12 am

    Good review. American Gods is on my TBR list.

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