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American Gods: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 1, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0060558121
  • ASIN: B000HT2P9S
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,304,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

This was a very well written story.
Robin
Reading a book a second time like this really makes one reflect on where one has been, where they are, and where they are going.
Garrett Zecker
In the end I cared about the main character and his development, but felt like we tried awful hard and long to get there.
PBJ

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

332 of 370 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Jared C. Serra on 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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319 of 361 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 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.
Read more ›
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100 of 118 people found the following review helpful By J. Dzwigalski on 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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182 of 220 people found the following review helpful By Christopher White on January 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I know I am going to get railed with a 2 out of 133 or something for my unpopular opinon, but I think that Gaiman's novel was high on concept and potential but never took off.
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.
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