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American Gods [Kindle Edition]

Neil Gaiman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,997 customer reviews)

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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

The storm was coming….Shadow 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 and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose accepts.

But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and 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 trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter -- all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does.

Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.

All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought -- and the prize is the very soul of America.

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


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.

Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.

Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.

More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not. --Therese Littleton

From Publishers Weekly

Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman's tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: "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." They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can't turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss's recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday's adversary, Mr. World. At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow's poignant personal moments and the tale's affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale's wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia. (One-day laydown, June 19)Forecast: Even when he isn't in top form, Gaiman, creator of the acclaimed Sandman comics series, trumps many storytellers. Momentously titled, and allotted a dramatic one-day laydown with a 12-city author tour, his latest will appeal to fans and attract mainstream review coverage for better or for worse because of the rich possibilities of its premise.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • File Size: 856 KB
  • Print Length: 624 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0060558121
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 10 Anv Rep edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC10MU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,819 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
318 of 353 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best edition to a masterpiece July 6, 2011
Format:Hardcover
There are so many reviews of the old book I won't spend much time doing that here. It is a modern day masterpiece. One that will be remembered for a long time.

What I would like to address is which edition you should purchase. If you already own American Gods then there is almost nothing new to be found here. There is just a small amount of new content. You should at least read his introduction to this edition. So if you have never purchased this book before then this is the best looking and most complete version available.

Bottom line is don't double dip but if this is your first copy you owe it to yourself to get this edition.
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317 of 358 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This Is a Bad Place For Gods..." August 2, 2001
Format:Hardcover
Released from prison shortly after the accidental death of his wife, ex-con Shadow finds himself free, but bereft of all the things that gave his previous life meaning. As he bids his farewell to the fragments of that life, an eerie stranger named Mr. Wednesday offers him employment. Wednesday needs someone to act as aid, driver, errand boy, and, in case of Wednesday's death, someone to hold a vigil for him. Shadow consents and finds himself drawn unsuspectingly into a cryptic reality where myth and legend coexist with today's realities.
Mr. Wednesday, trickster and wise man, is on a quest. The old gods who came over to this country with each human incursion have weakened as their followers have dwindled and are now threatened with extinction by the modern gods of technology and marketing. Wednesday travels from deity to deity, rounding up help for what will be last battle. He engages ancient Russian gods, Norse legends, Egyptian deities, and countless others who have found their way to America in the past 10,000 or so years. Shadow never quite understands what his role is in all of this, but he experiences visions and dreams which promise that he is far more than Wednesday's factotum.
The plot is unendingly inventive as it treks its way across the country. From Chicago to Rhode Island, and Seattle to the magical town of Lakeside, Shadow's journey seems to follow the back roads of America. The people he meets are gritty, and the gods are even grittier. Gaiman creates believable characters with quick brush strokes and builds vivid landscapes that belie their mundane origins. Gaiman, recently moved to the U.S. has invited us along on his own quest to discover an America uniquely his own.
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99 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Strikes Again June 20, 2001
Format:Hardcover
After waiting several years for Neil's new book, I hungrily devoured the 400+ page "American Gods" in just over two days. The story follows Shadow Moon, recently released from prison, as he comes to work for a man simply known as Wednesday. Wednesday is a peculiar old man with a frightening knowledge of Shadow's past and an amazing talent of swindling people who introduces Shadow to many fascinating characters, who it is later learned, are all transplanted Gods endeavoring to hold on to life all across America.
Gaiman explores the sacred power hidden in the kitschy roadside attractions doting the landscape of America's many back roads; their once glorious power waning as people worship more modern cultural icons and ideas. The sprawling story pits the forgotten gods America's immigrated citizens brought with them to the new land against the high-tech gods of modern living in a war for the very right to be worshipped. Shadow is pulled headfirst into the dispute and ends up playing a crucial role in the upcoming battle. The meanings of life and death, self-worth, spiritual beliefs, and redemption are all explored with Gaiman's witty intelligence.
Gaiman's ability to entwine multiple plot lines with clever cultural critiques while maintaining fantastic character descriptions and an engaging narrative solidifies the fantasy/horror author's place as one of the world's best storytellers. Much more than a magical tale of combating Gods, Gaiman paints a picture of a melting pot left too long to boil, and a country who worships the next big thing a bit too easily and with little consideration for it's ancestry.
Definitely worth buying, and undeniably worth reading (all though you might want to slow down a bit more than I did!). And while you're at it - check out "Stardust" and "Neverwhere", you won't be disappointed.
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92 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The joy is in the journey September 23, 2001
Format:Hardcover
I have read all of Gaiman's novels, as well as the Sandman graphic novels. I'm a fan of urban fantasy, and, needless to say, I'm a fan of Gaiman's work. I was especially anxious to read American Gods because a good portion of the story takes place in my home state, Wisconsin (home of snow, ice and Culver's custard.) I was not, generally speaking, disapppointed. American Gods has everything I like about Gaiman's stories.
The story opens with Shadow, the protagonist, being released from prison a week early to attend his wife's funeral. Shadow is a big man, strong in both stature and integrity. On his way home, he meets Mr. Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job as bodyguard. The pair travels the American heartland, drumming up support for a coming spiritual war. Along the way they meet a host of unlikely characters, includ and thugs with names like Mr. Town, Mr. Street, Mr. Woods and Mr. World. And not least among this cast of extremely interesting characters is Laura, Shadow's deceased wife who spends most of the book bailing Shadow out of tight situations. And rotting.
I docked the book 1 star because, in my opinion, the ending fizzled. Also, interspersed through the book were short stories that were removed from the main storyline. These were a nice break between chapters, and offered insight to 'the coming war' in other parts of the nation. For some reason, these stories stopped about 1/3 of the way through the book, and I sort of missed them.
In summary, I think that American Gods was a far stronger effort than the last book of his I read, Stardust, but not as good as Neverwhere, or Sandman.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition
One of my favorite books of all time - I just pick it up from time to time and read it again. Have gone through a few paperback copies over the years, and recently made the... Read more
Published 20 minutes ago by Robert M
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it.
I like it, it has thrill, faith, betrayal, love, etc.
Published 2 hours ago by Juan Gabino Tavera
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Witty, full of humor and intelligence...never disengages from it's humanity.
Published 6 hours ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars This book was a good read. I enjoyed the story and the characters
This book was a good read. I enjoyed the story and the characters. The mini stories between chapters distracted the story some, but not too bad. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Josh
4.0 out of 5 stars fantasy, or not?
It's a good ride, with colorful characters and a plot that meanders to the end with many side trips. Fun!
Published 21 hours ago by Donald M. Schwartz
3.0 out of 5 stars All I've ever heard is great things about American Gods
All I've ever heard is great things about American Gods, but I simply could not get into it. I wanted to like it so much, but I couldn't read it for twenty minutes without nodding... Read more
Published 22 hours ago by Kyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very fun read would love to see this transfered into a graphic novel.
Published 1 day ago by C. Wheat
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read in a long time
great read from start to finish this book is very hard to put down. I can't wait to read Mr Gaimans other books
Published 1 day ago by Asta Helgason
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Gaiman
Great story, great writing.
Published 2 days ago by Israel Galindo
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Love the characters, style, and story. Neil Gaiman can write a very captivating tale.
Published 2 days ago by Rebecca
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More About the Author

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean's MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

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