American Gods

American Gods

by Neil Gaiman

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

$7.99
View All Available Formats & Editions

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Eligible for FREE SHIPPING

Overview

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident.

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever he the same...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380789030
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/28/2002
Pages: 624
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Hometown:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

November 10, 1960

Place of Birth:

Portchester, England

Education:

Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The boundaries of our country, sir? Why sir, on the north we arebounded by the Aurora Borealis, on the east we are bounded by therising sun, on the south we are bounded by the procession of theEquinoxes, and on the west by the Day of Judgment.
-- The American Joe Miller's Jest Book

Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don't-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.

The best thing – in Shadow's opinion, perhaps the only good thing – about being in prison was a feeling of relief. The feeling that he'd plunged as low as he could plunge and he'd hit bottom. He didn't worry that the man was going to get hurt, because the man had got him. He was no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, because yesterday had brought it.

It did not matter, Shadow decided, if you had done what you had been convicted of or not. In his experience everyone he met in prison was aggrieved about something: there was always something the authorities had got wrong, something they said you did when you didn't – or you didn't do quite like they said you did. What was important was that they had gotten you.

He had noticed it in the first few days, when everything, from the slang to the bad food, was new. Despite the misery and the titter skin-crawling horror of incarceration, he was breathing relief.

Shadow tried not to talk too much. Somewhere around the middle of year two he mentioned his theory to Low Key Lyesmith, hiscellmate.

Low Key, who was a grifter from Minnesota, smiled his scarred smile. "Yeah," he said. "That's true. It's even better when you've been sentenced to death. That's when you remember the jokes about the guys who kicked their boots off as the noose flipped around their necks, because their friends always told them they'd die with their boots on."

"Is that a joke?" asked Shadow.

"Damn right. Gallows humor. Best kind there is."

"When did they last hang a man in this state?" asked Shadow.

"How the hell should I know?" Lyesmith kept his orange-blond hair pretty much shaved. You could see the lines of his skull. "Tell you what, though. This country started going to bell when they stopped hanging folks. No gallows dirt. No gallows deals."

Shadow shrugged. He could see nothing romantic in a death sentence.

If you didn't have a death sentence, he decided, then prison was, at best, only a temporary reprieve from life, for two reasons. First, life creeps back into prison. There are always places to go further down. Life goes on. And second, if you just hang in there, someday they're going to have to let you out.

In the beginning it was too far away for Shadow to focus on. Then it became a distant beam of hope, and he learned how to tell himself "this too shall pass" when the prison shit went down, as prison shit always did. One day the magic door would open and he'd walk through it. So he marked off the days on his Songbirds of North America calendar, which was the only calendar they sold in the prison commissary, and the sun went down and he didn't see it and the sun came up and he didn't see it. He practiced coin tricks from a book lie found in the wasteland of the prison library; and lie worked out; and he made lists in his head of what he'd do when he got out of prison.

Shadow's lists got shorter and shorter. After two years he had it down to three things.

First, he was going to take a bath. A real, long, serious soak, in a tub with bubbles. Maybe read the paper, maybe not. Some days he thought one way, some days the other.

Second he was going to towel himself off, put on a robe. Maybe slippers. He liked the idea of slippers. If he smoked he would be smoking a pipe about now, but he didn't smoke. He would pick up his wife in his arms ("Puppy," she would squeal in mock horror and real delight, "what are you doing?"). He would carry her into the bedroom, and close the door. They'd call out for pizzas if they got hungry.

Third, after he and Laura had come out of the bedroom, maybe a couple of days later, he was going to keep his head down and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life.

"And then you'll be happy?" asked Low Key Lyesmith. That day they were working in the prison shop, assembling bird feeders, which was barely more interesting than stamping out license plates.

"Call no man happy," said Shadow, "until he is dead."

"Herodotus," said Low Key. "Hey. You're learning."

"Who the fuck's Herodotus?" asked the Iceman, slotting together the sides of a bird feeder and passing it to Shadow, who bolted and screwed it tight.

"Dead Greek," said Shadow.

"My last girlfriend was Greek," said the Iceman. "The shit her family ate. You would not believe. Like rice wrapped in leaves. Shit like that."

The Iceman was the same size and shape as a Coke machine, with blue eyes and hair so blond it was almost white. He had beaten the crap out of some guy who had made the mistake of copping a feel off his girlfriend in the bar where she danced and the Iceman bounced. The guy's friends had called the police, who arrested the Iceman and ran a check on him which revealed that the Iceman had walked from a work-release program...

American Gods. Copyright © by Neil Gaiman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introducción a la Edición X Aniversario,
Sobre la presente edición,
Aviso para navegantes,
Primera Parte Sombras,
Capítulo uno,
En algún lugar de Estados Unidos,
Capítulo dos,
Capítulo tres,
Desembarco en América,
Capítulo cuatro,
El desembarco en Estados Unidos,
Capítulo cinco,
Capítulo seis,
Capítulo siete,
En algún lugar de Estados Unidos,
Capítulo ocho,
Segunda Partem Mi Ainsel,
Capítulo nueve,
Mientras tanto, una conversación,
Capítulo diez,
Capítulo once,
Desembarco en los Estados Unidos,
Capítulo doce,
Interludio,
Interludio 2,
Interludio 3,
Capítulo trece,
El desembarco en América,
Tercera Parte El momento de la tormenta,
Capítulo catorce,
Capítulo quince,
Capítulo dieciséis,
Capítulo diecisiete,
Capítulo dieciocho,
Cuarta Parte Epílogo: algo que los muertos no nos revelan,
Capítulo diecinueve,
Capítulo veinte,
Epílogo,
Agradecimientos,
Apéndice,
¿Cómo te atreves?,
Una entrevista con Neil Gaiman,

What People are Saying About This

Peter Straub

Here we have . . . a real emotional richness and grandeur that emerge from masterful storytelling.

Jane Lindskold

American Gods is like a fast run downhill through a maze — both exhilarating and twisted.

Jonathan Carroll

Gaiman has managed to tell the tallest of tales in the most believable fashion. An important, essential book.

William Gibson

Neil Gaiman, a writer of rare perception and endless imagination . . . is . . . an American treasure.

Patrick Rothfuss

“Gaiman understands the shape of stories.”

Tim Powers

A magical modern Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — this book will astonish you on ever page.

Teller (Penn & Teller)

American Gods is sexy, thrilling, dark, funny and poetic.

George R. R. Martin

“Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive; a picaresque journey across America where the travelers are even stranger than the roadside attractions.”

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

Shadow Moon 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, Laura, and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But just a few days before his release, he learns that Laura has been fatally injured in a car accident.

On the plane ride home to the funeral, a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday makes Shadow an offer he can't refuse. But 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 odyssey and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter -- all of whom seem to know a great deal about Shadow's private life.

Shadow will discover that everyone in Mr. Wednesday's world harbors secrets, that the living and the dead are all around him, and that nothing is what it appears. As a storm of epic proportions threatens to break all around them, Shadow and Wednesday get swept up in a conflict as old as humanity itself; for beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a pitched battle is being fought over America's soul.

As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey into 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.

Discussion Questions

  1. Where is Shadow at the beginning of American Gods? Where is he at the end? Of the many characters he encounters along the way, which did you find mostmemorable? What did you make of Shadow's obsession with coin tricks? How did you interpret his determination to participate in the vigil for Wednesday?

  2. How does Laura die? Were you surprised by what happens at her funeral? How does she come to Shadow's aid? What explains the phenomenon of her persistence in the world of the living? How does Shadow release her from her state of limbo?

  3. How would you describe Wednesday? How does he interact with Shadow at the start of the book? Did you find any of his grifter schemes especially entertaining? What is his connection to Odin? By the end of American Gods, what relationship between Wednesday and Shadow is revealed?

  4. Who is Czernobog? How would you describe him? What is his relationship with the three Zoryas? What did you make of this group? What role did they play in Shadow's experiences?

  5. "There are new gods growing in America ... gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." How do you interpret this remark? Do you think there's any element of truth to it?

  6. How would you describe Shadow's sojourn in Lakeside, Wisconsin? How do Hinzelmann, Chad Mulligan, Marge Olsen, and Missy Gunther treat their mysterious new neighbor?

  7. Who is Alison McGovern and how does Shadow come to know her? What clue enables Shadow to determine her killer? What did you think of the outcome of this mystery?

  8. "Would you believe that all of the gods that people have ever imagined are still with us today?" Shadow asks this question of Samantha Black Crow. Do you find this premise compelling? Did any elements of the plot of American Gods push this idea in interesting directions?

About the author

Neil Gaiman is the critically acclaimed author of the novels American Gods (winner of the 2002 Hugo Award for Best Novel), Stardust (winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award), and the award-winning Sandman series of graphic novels, as well as Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of short fiction, and Coraline (winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella), a tale for readers of all ages. His first book for children, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean, was one of Newsweek's Best Children's Books of 1997. In 2003, Gaiman and McKean teamed up again to produce another illustrated children's book, The Wolves in the Walls. His small press story collection, Angels & Visitations, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and won the International Horror Critics Guild Award for Best Collection. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in America.

Interviews

An Interview with Neil Gaiman

Barnes & Noble.com: American Gods is far and away the most ambitious and wide-ranging of your novel-length narratives. Was this sense of near epic scope implicit in your original conception of the book, or did your story, like Tolkien's, grow in the telling?

Neil Gaiman: I always knew it was going to be a big book -- I don't think I really knew just how big until it became apparent that I was already 100,000 words into the book and I was only half way through the story. It took me twice as long to write as I had expected and planned.

It certainly grew in the telling; and to be honest, I suspect that if someone had said "Here, take another year on it," it would have been half as long again. America's such a big country that trying to squeeze even a small bit of it into a book demands a big book.

B&N.com: One of the most obvious literary influences present in American Gods is, it seems to me, Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. How important was this influence? Has Ellison's work in general played a significant role in your own artistic development?

NG: I think that's true, although it's not something I saw until I had finished the first draft of American Gods. Harlan was certainly an influence, although just as important were James Branch Cabell's gods in Something About Eve, who existed because they were believed in and, when they were no longer believed in, walked down the road to yesteryear, and Roger Zelazny's people-as-gods in Lord of Light and gods-as-people in Creatures of Light and Darkness. All of the books and authors I read as a boy.

Harlan was certainly the first time, as a reader, I became aware of a writer as a person through the work. There's a white-hot fierceness to the best of Ellison that I would love to have in my own work. I was thrilled when he broke his rule about not giving blurbs to give American Gods an (unsolicited) blurb...

Another influence, of course, in many ways, was The Sandman.

B&N.com: American Gods is, in part, a road novel in the classic tradition, a novel that takes a close, even intimate look at the American landscape. To what extent does the novel represent your attempt to assess and come to terms with your adopted country?

NG: Pretty much 100% -- I'd been writing about America for years before I came to live here, albeit an America constructed out of films and movies and other books. But living here made me reassess everything I had seen -- and every way I had seen the media portray America. I thought it would be a good thing to try and put the America I saw down on paper.

B&N.com: Much of your creative energy has, in recent years, gone into the creation of full-length novels. Has novel writing become your preferred form of expression, or are you equally interested in exploring a variety of forms?

NG: In many ways right now, writing novels is the next form I'm trying to master. I felt like I got pretty good at comics, and I'm fairly comfortable with my ability to write short stories. American Gods is the first novel I've written that I felt I was beginninng to show any sign of talent at the medium.

It's also, of course, the first original solo novel I've done. Neverwhere and Good Omens and Stardust were either collaborative or began life in other media.

I'm no less intersted or active in other forms though.

B&N.com: You developed an enormous, even fanatical following with the Sandman series of graphic novels. Do you have the sense that this audience has followed you into your recent forays into prose fiction (Neverwhere, Stardust, Smoke and Mirrors, etc.)?

NG: It's hard to tell -- Sandman sold in astounding quantities, and while the novels also sell astonishingly well, it seems to me like half of the readers were Sandman readers, while half of them had no idea who or what I was and just picked up the books because they liked the look of the covers or read a good review.

I suspect that also Neverwhere and Stardust (while popular, award-winning, and bestselling) wouldn't have given Sandman readers the same buzz they got from Sandman -- they were an adventure novel and a fairy tale respectively. American Gods has the same kind of meat that Sandman did, I think.

B&N.com: Are you still interested in staying involved in the comics industry, either through future Sandman stories or through something altogether new?

NG: Yes.

B&N.com: Good Omens, your comic collaboration with Terry Pratchett, remains one of your most popular creations. Do you have anything to report either on the rumored sequel or on the possibility of a film adaptation?

NG: Terry Gilliam is signed to direct it and has just written the first draft of a script. I'm excited.

B&N.com: Speaking of film adaptations, is it true that you'll be writing and directing an original screenplay in the near future? Can you tell us anything about this project?

NG: I'm working on adapting Death: The High Cost of Living into film form for Warner Brothers. Let's see what happens.

B&N.com: With American Gods, which must have been an enormous effort, now behind you, do you have any immediate plans for a new, novel-length project, or are you planning to let the tank fill back up for a while?

NG: I think it's going to be short projects for a little while. And then I'll want to take refuge in a longer project.

B&N.com: You once remarked that you were lucky in that you had stories to tell that a good many people clearly wanted to hear. Would you care to single out some good writers who have been slightly less fortunate, writers who deserve -- but have not yet received -- a larger share of the public's attention?

NG: Authors whose work I've read an enjoyed in the last few weeks who are in that camp would be Jonathan Carroll; Martin Millar; M. John Harrison; John M. Ford... and too many others to list.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

American Gods 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 942 reviews.
Danibelle More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that I simply COULD NOT put down. It's a great fantasy story as well as a wake up call to pay attention to everything around us. Gaiman fans will LOVE it. Also, read the sequel, Anansi Boys.
oraymw More than 1 year ago
From the first page, Neil Gaiman's character Shadow connects with the reader in a way that few books manage in several thousand words. The reader wonders why he is in jail, and why there is a storm coming. The plot quickly takes several surprising and dramatic turns, which serve to cement a firm hook in the reader that will last for the next 600 pages. Additionally, American God's has such a tangible setting. The words quickly form concrete images in the readers mind, which enables an amazing depth of immersion. Also, the plot is so carefully crafted that not a scene is wasted. When you read this book, you need to pay attention to everything that happens, because it will all be essential by the end of the book. Finally, the conflicts in this book are so well-seated in the American conciousness that it is easy for the reader to become heavily invested in the outcome. This is a book that will stay with you for weeks after you finish it, and it will affect everything that you read from here into the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read previous reviews of this book, I have to both agree and disagree with most of them. The novel is difficult to read on two levels. First, it is extremely graphic at times. It has several explicit sex scenes and lots of horrific violence. Second, it relies on a fragmented, piecemeal narrative that requires close concentration in order for the reader to "get" all of the interconnections. However, the novel is also very well crafted and makes several meaningful arguments about humanity and morality. Moreover, Shadow, the main character, is very compelling and likable. Due to the conflicting nature of my reactions to this novel, I found myself on the verge of putting it down several times, but in the end I was glad that I saw it through. The novel's depth and complexity overcame it's tendency to dwell on the brutal and grotesque elements of human nature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of Neverworld, which I adored. This book was a bit too graphic for me, not leaving enough to the imagination, and going too much for shock value. I bought it at a book sale, didn't finish it, and plan on donating it to the next book sale.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Shadow went to prison for beating up two men, but receives parole after three years of doing time. Because he is big and radiates a ¿don¿t mess¿ attitude, Shadow had no problems there. Two days before he is to be freed, the warden informs Shadow that his wife died and he can leave to make proper funeral arrangements. Shadow loved his wife and is rocked by the news.

When Mr. Wednesday arrives on the scene just before the funeral of Shadow¿s wife, the grieving ex-con welcomes the craziness that ensues. Mr. Wednesday is actually Odin and with the other ancient gods and mythical creatures walks the earth though no one believes in them anymore. Mr. Wednesday and cohorts are growing weaker and he wants to make one last confrontation for the hearts of Americans.

Neil Gaiman uses flashbacks to show how leprechauns, Odin, pixies other creatures of myth and legend other came to the New World. They traveled here in the hearts and souls of the immigrants. This pure epic urban fantasy demonstrates why Mr. Gaiman remains the grandmaster of the sub-genre. The Old Ones need people to believe in them again, but doubt they can achieve their noble objective. The climax is incredibly original so that no one will guess what will happen. AMERICAN GODS might prove to be the fantasy tale of 2001 as it is already that of the midpoint.

Harriet Klausner

horvendile More than 1 year ago
I was a little lost in this book. Its a kind of Stephen King meets "Twin Peaks" meets "the golden bough". I really wanted to like this but it seemed to meander about with so many characters that sounded the same and talked in the glib hardboiled King way that I could not distinguish them all the time or remember where we met them the first time. However Shadow was an interesting character and the slapstick of his Herbert West-like wife was good. There was some "page-turning" interest in parts especially in the Silverlake(?) & hinzellman scenes but it was painful in many other parts. This was a dark fantasy that tried to be sometimes light-hearted in a Kingish kind of way that ended up being sporadically annoying. This is the only novel I have read by Gaiman and I appreciate the respect he holds for the classic sci-fi and high fantasy authors (Cabell and Mirlees) so I think I will read something else by him despite this harsh review.
Fagelman More than 1 year ago
Neil Gaiman has established himself as one of the finest writers to grace us in the modern century. American Gods is an epic book, where within minutes belief is suspended and one becomes immersed in a story influenced by other stories old and new. The plot moves at freight train speed, with breakneck turns and whipping highs and lows, all centered with a most alluring protagonist: Shadow is an enigma, wrapped in a dangerous past and possessing incredible loyalty. I could gush all day at this fantastic read, but the best thing to do is pick it up, immerse yourself, and ever after glance about with the thought that gods may in fact live, breathe, and suffer along with the rest of us. GREAT BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know if I have ever reviewed a book on here before or not, but I was so disappointed with this one I had to give my 2 cents. This book took me FOREVER to read! If it wasn't for the fact that I owned it, I would have thrown in the towel long before I finally got through it. Everyone hates it when they read a book that is extremely easy to put down and this is one of those. There were so many parts that I thought to myself that they would surely get tied together with the main story by the end....but no! This book was completely pointless, and although I like to own most/all of the books I read, I think this one may make its way to a garage sale or used book store becauseI wouldn't suggest it to anyone or ever read it again. The length wasn't completely overwhelming, but it was a long enough book that it made it all the more irritating at it's lack of point.....and for as long as it took me to read it it might as well have been 1,000 pages. And when the book finally reaches some sort of climax, it brushes over the events of some big battle instead of actually going over what happened....all build up and zero payoff!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the concept. Good writing. Characters are fantastic BUT after 280 pages of feeling like I was reading a travel journal I gave up. I like books that tell a story and so far this one is more interested in the backgrounds of it's minor characters,which the main character meets every ten pages, than the actual plot. Very unfocused and frustrating to read.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
This book kept me hoping, as I turned each page, that something understandable was going to happen. Neil Gaiman had such a wonderful idea for this novel, but he never quite made it work. I struggled to figure out who these illusive "American Gods" were. Everything was too ambiguous and unsatisfying. I actually can't even believe I finished it. This is a book that will be donated to the library or Salvation Army.
wolfsbane82 More than 1 year ago
This is a good adventure story that forces you to look at Gods in a new way. It has good Character development, many good twists and I was amazed when all elements of the plot were brought together in the end. If you like stories that include adventure, changing relationships, love, and war you will enjoy this book.
MRBNYC More than 1 year ago
I had heard about Gaiman, but never read one of his works. AMERICAN GODS is a good blend of real life and fantasy, done in a unique and interesting manner. The story moves along swiftly, and the descriptions of the numerous and varied gods is fascinating and informative (clearly, a significant amount of research went into the writing). I would recommend this to anyone interested in fantasy works, but I'm not positive it would have a broader appeal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked up this book, I was struck by the author's writing style, and although I had never previously read anything by Neil Gaiman, there was a familiarity that sucked me in. I soon realized that the familiarity was a combination of good literature and a modern point of view that encapsulated my own interest in religions and popular culture. The characters and tales woven into the pages, tales of gods of the old world and gods of modern times, were so well developed and so carefully intertwined, I couldn't wait to return to the book each time I set it down. American Gods is a wild ride across the American landscape, touching down in familiar places and taking you to the realm of the gods. Highly recommended.
Priscamor More than 1 year ago
Recommended for: everyone from teen and up Highly Recommended! Not only is this a Neil Gaiman novel, but it involved mythological beings therefore I was eager to read it, but afraid to be disappointed. However, Neil Gaiman surpassed my expectations by not succumbing to his normal style of writing, and immersing into a narrative about the main character without betraying his private personality. He also doesn't waste time explaining who any of the supernatural characters are and it is not to be missed; you either know them or you don't. Neil Gaiman takes us on a road trip through midwest America and humanizes these gods, unraveling a story within stories which captures your interest as you delve more into the book. I don't want to spoil the fun of discovering the characters and the plots, so all I will say is, read it! It is worth it!
Reiner More than 1 year ago
The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on a mysterious and taciturn protagonist, Shadow. The central concept is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them. Immigrants to the United States brought dwarfs, elves, leprechauns, and other spirits and gods with them, but their power is diminished as people's beliefs wane. New gods have arisen, reflecting America's obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and illegal drugs, among others. Various real-life towns and tourist attractions, including the House on the Rock (and its 'world's largest carousel') and Rock City, are featured through the course of the book. Gaiman states in an introduction that he has obscured the precise location of some actual locales.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading Neverwhere I was an instant Gaiman fan. That book was outstanding and I read it cover to cover in about 2 days. I guess my expectations for American Gods was quite high. In the end, I didnt really care about any of the characters. Shadow was an interesting protagonist, but not one that I could relate too, or understand. His actions were unexpected in teh beginning, but by the end pretty predictable. The plot twists were good, but I did not have any real 'aha' moments (Hinzelmann was so obviously not what he appeared to be). I also think that one of the best things abotu Gaiman is his wit. I had more than a few hearty chuckles during neverwhere, but not many in this one. It took me a long time to read and I would only get through a handful of pages before getting bored and putting it down. By the middle i just skimmed through many passages. Maybe i missed important bits? Either way, it didnt really hold my attention. I was waiting for a moving conclusion, but it didnt come. Still, i got through it, and that deserves at least 3 stars.
wiresparrow More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books on my bookshelf. This and Neverwhere (also by Gaiman) are two books I recommend to people that want an interesting read. It branches out with  subtle references to so many things. A little nostalgic even. Names are not just names in this book. I just love Gaiman's writing but particularly this one and Neverwhere. Everything's more than it seems.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
American Gods is, at its core, a social commentary on the things Americans worship. The story follows Shadow, a man who takes a job with Mr. Wednesday immediately after his release from prison. He’s not entirely sure who Mr. Wednesday is or what he does, but he crisscrosses the country with him and meets some interesting people along the way. What the reader learns, along with Shadow, is that the people he meets are the physical representations of various gods that are kept alive by people’s belief in them. Years ago, as people migrated to the United States, they brought their folklore and belief systems with them. Unfortunately, as people become more “Americanized” they begin to worship new things, such as the media, technology, and transportation. These “new” American Gods are also represented by real people, and the old is at war with the new for their place in the world. If I haven’t lost you yet, let me be clear that this book is absolutely stunning and that you shouldn’t judge it based on my summary because it’s such a layered book that it’s difficult to explain. American Gods takes a look at what Americans worship today and how these new preoccupations affect our personal histories. It begs the question of whether our ancestors and their beliefs matter, and it mocks the the “gods” that Americans worship today. More than just as social commentary, however, Gaiman strikes a chord in the hearts of readers with his incredible character development and fast-paced storyline. Despite its length, American Gods is impossible to put down and will leave you wanting more. Allison @ The Book Wheel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book took a while to get into. It was not a sit on the edge of your seat and cant put it down kind of book. But even so, the premise of the story and the plot are great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes drawn out and perhaps a bit cliche in the new gods though the gods themselves are unique and the pantheon within is really incredible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this to be intriguing, entertaining, and splendidly written. I found myself wanting to finish it in earnest. The plot twists were unexpected and delightful. Not sure where the idea for this novel originated but go back there and grab another one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is huge and not the easiest read at times but it is worth the effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very talented author. The story is smart and entertaining, but the writing talent takes it to the next level.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not read this book if you can't pay attention to it. I enjoyed this book. Every once in a while I like to read a book that will actually make my brain work. It has meaning and depth. Shadows path through the world of the American Gods is a tricky one, a coin trick that is simple once you slow it down and look past the illusion, clear the smoke and turn the mirrors! THAT is how I inturpet this book. There were times I got a little confused but in the end I think it's briliant. 4 stars instead of 5 because some parts seemed to be there simply to confuse the confused. Don't get me wrong though I love Neil Gaiman one of my favorite books is Neverwhere.
CAJ45 More than 1 year ago
I found this book very entertaining. Did I always know what was going on...Nope nor did I fully understand everything. But it had a great cast of characters and a mixed up storyline that you just wanted to read to find out where it was going. Definitely a book I would re-read because I would discover something new with each reading.