‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman

I wrote about the last book I finished, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishigura, exactly a week ago and since then I finished another book, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. A couple of weeks before I read Never Let Me Go I read Neverwhere and absolutely fell in love with it, so my boyfriend suggested that I read American Gods as well.

The book is set around a man named Shadow who’s about to get out of prison for a crime you’re not sure of. As he’s about to be released tragedy strikes and his life is thrown into chaos. On his way home he meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday on a plane, who offers him a job, telling him that he knows his life is in ruins and that he can help. Shadow eventually accepts the offer and thus begins a journey through America and running into the old and new Gods that inhabit it and preparing for a might storm that’s approaching.

I really love how Neil Gaiman writes, both American Gods and Neverwhere served to show just how great he is. I knew of Neil because I read Sandman a long time ago, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy his novels as much. Turns out I definitely did. They’re definitely about fantastic stuff like magic and Gods, but he does a good job of not being overly showy or flashy with it. He definitely presents the books from a mundane point of view and you get to witness these brief moments of wonder. It’s this restraint that definitely keeps the books integrity.


8 Comments ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman

  1. liz November 19, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    that’s one of my favorite books. you should try anansi boys or smoke & mirrors (short stories). he’s such a great author, i’m currently on volume 5 of sandman and it’s one of the most beautiful things i’ve experienced.

  2. Gideon November 19, 2009 at 11:12 PM

    I second the Smoke and Mirrors, along with Fragile Things (I would add Anansi Boys but I haven’t finished it yet). Annddd, if you don’t mind children’s lit, Coraline and The Graveyard Book are quite lovely.

  3. Fiona November 19, 2009 at 11:16 PM

    If you like Neil Gaiman’s work, you HAVE to read Jonathan Carroll. Carroll also happens to be Gaiman’s favorite novelist and he says so all the time. Start with SLEEPING IN FLAME or THE WOODEN SEA. Carroll is an American who has lived for years in Vienna, Austria. In Europe and Asia his work is huge, but it’s so sui generis (a kind of mixtape of Gaiman and Murakami) that American readers have been slow to embrace him although he has big fans like Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem and Stephen King who are always singing his praises.

  4. Astro Boy November 20, 2009 at 6:40 AM

    Neil Gaiman is awesome!
    Do read more stuff he wrote, cause it is definetly worth it!
    I have been reading The Road Cormac McCarthy and I find it McCarthy’s writing in many ways similiar to Gaiman’s.

    American Gods is unique!

  5. Julio November 21, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    Yeah- and just to add something, Anansi’s Boys may be the sequel to American Gods, but don’t expect to follow it’s tone. It’s the same world with many of the characters playing returning roles, and it ponders on much of the same topics that Gods does. However it’s much, much light-hearted, so much in times it reads as a caricature of its predecessor.
    I found this last thing to be it’s most significant triumph- a sequel that succesfully delivers a continuation of themes, however does it with its own new, voice and not merely an echoe.

  6. joshuasbones November 22, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    When you next need a Gaiman fix I’d definitely try Anansi Boys and The Sandman.

  7. Yoram Roth November 23, 2009 at 4:05 AM

    I thought of the Anansi Boys as a light and fun read. Thanks @Fiona, I never even heard of Jonathan Carroll.

  8. C November 30, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    American Gods blew my mind.

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