Review: American Gods  

Monday, August 06, 2007

I liked this book. Gaiman has a way of making the unusual seem usual. It bothered me a bit because I know people who believe in gods exactly as Gaiman describes them. And after reading the book I'm guessing a lot of that came from Gaiman. I've spent much of my time rejecting the notion of the supernatural lately and so even though the book is written as fiction, it still bothered me a bit. But I was able to overlook that dissatisfaction enough to enjoy the book.

The book centers on Shadow, a man who's life is changed when he is released from prison early after his wife is killed in an accident. As he's dealing with his grief, a man offers him a job. Shadow doesn't want to do anything more than put his wife to rest, but instead he's caught up in a story and a world that he never imagined existed.

Parts of the book are just fantastic. The description and the characters in Lakeside, a town Shadow hides out in later in the book, made this book for me. I could see Lakeside in my mind and it was a place that I wanted to visit. It was that perfect small-town where things really aren't perfect, but it's still beautiful and moving, even in the midst of tragedy. If I could imagine a perfect place to live (minus the murders), it would be there.

I also loved the bit with Anubis, Bast, and (I'm drawing a blank on the other god, Osiris?) in Memphis, Michigan (I think?) running the funeral parlor.

Overall the story was great. It took me a little bit longer to get into, but under normal circumstances I don't think it would have been as difficult. And once it captured me towards the last 100-150 pages I couldn't put it down.

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3 comments: to “ Review: American Gods

  • stevo
    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 3:45:00 PM CDT  

    Great review.

    I have yet to read a novel penned by Neil Gaiman. His Sandman, and Death, graphic novels were wonderful, I will shamefully admit I read these comics. Seasons of Mist sounds similar to American Gods, with the old Gods from several pantheons getting together over one event.

  • ordinarygirl
    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 4:11:00 PM CDT  

    The Sandman comics were incredible. One of these days soon I'd like to sit down and re-read them.

    Re-reading books I love is one of my guilty pleasures. It's only guilty because there's so much new material that I want to read.

  • Paul
    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 7:33:00 PM CDT  

    I think you're right that Gaiman's work has influenced popular conceptions of deity -- especially among young people. Which is fine with me, since I think his concepts are more sophisticated than some rival concepts.

    I enjoyed "American Gods" too.


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