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American Gods: A Novel (Italian) Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2003
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
The problem is that I was expecting an epic. The book's subject matter, length, awards, and reviews all scream epic. I was expecting something deep, meaningful, and memorable. Gaiman's writing talent teased me nearly all the way through that this was indeed what I was reading, yet it never quite delivered. Instead of a memorable epic, what I finally discovered in American Gods was a well-written and enjoyable pulp novel that felt much closer to a particularly well done Stephen King story than it did to an important mythological epic.
I did enjoy reading American Gods. Neil Gaiman is a talented writer, and if you are a fan, you will probably want to read it as well. But be warned to limit your expectations. Despite its length and hype, this book is not an epic, mythic or otherwise. File this one on your bookshelf beside King's The Stand rather than putting it beside Tolkien, Joseph Campbell, or Jung.
I find all kinds of mythology interesting, and that is exactly what made me purchase this book and I think Gaiman did a good job of incorporating competeing mythologies into the novel. However, and I know that this is not the most eloquent way to put it, but the book just didn't do it for me. It really just felt like an airport book of the week, like Sidney Sheldon's "Doomsday Conspiracy" which took an interesting topic (at the time) and made an episode of All My Children out of it.
I think what it came down to for me was that I never beleived in any of the characters, especially Shadow, and I saw the twists coming from a mile away. I hate saying that, but it is true, the story was transparent.
I am not an avid fantasy reader, though I dabble in Sci Fi, so take that into account with my review, but over all, I was just waiting for a bang that never came.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having been fascinated by mythology, I was first introduced to Neil Gaiman through reading Sandman comics in 2009. Read morePublished 1 hour ago by Emmanuel Akinola
Neil Gaiman may simply be the greatest living writer of fantasy, the literary (and suitably English) heir to J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Alex Stark
It took me a while to read this but when I was finished I really loved this book. As always Gaiman is a great writer and includes all the details. Read morePublished 4 hours ago by AugustDBrown
This is one of my all time favorite novels. I've read it twice now at different periods of my life. Gaiman's style is surreal and earthy, intelligent yet playful and humorous. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Alexa
one of my all time favourite books by one of my all time favourite authors. not much of a review, I know, but i am certain that there are much more qualified persons who have... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Frenk Melk
Great read, story keeps you engaged and intrigued. Tons of questions and mysteries raised that keep you guessing and wanting more. Sort of dark in parts. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I'm very interested in mythology and was looking forward to this series that is going to be released at the end of this year. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Lenny T. Jones
One of my favorites. I am glad I have it on Kindle as well as book form.Published 7 days ago by DJ's Mommy