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American Gods: Author's Preferred Text Paperback – February 5, 2013
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“Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive.” (George R. R. Martin)
American Gods is sexy, thrilling, dark, funny and poetic." (Teller, of Penn & Teller)
"American Gods is like a fast run downhill through a maze -- both exhilarating and twisted." (Jane Lindskold, author of Changer and)
From the Back Cover
Since it was first published, American Gods became an instant classic. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this tenth anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
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A lot can be said for an author’s ability to reshape the ancient tales. Stories of the old gods, creation, and judgement of death have enough in common it’s not difficult to imagine them existing in the same universe. For all we know, they have weekly staff meetings.
Gaiman very obviously loves myth and legend as much as the histories that made them so. Since we no longer depend upon oral tradition, we’ve been able to spread religious ideals across the world, but with modernity right on their heels.
This book is a transition more than a work of true fiction, in my opinion. Being written on the cusp of a new millennium and published shortly thereafter had such an impact on how it’s perceived by an audience. Now that we see what has happened to America, 15 years later, we can not only draw parallels between history and myth, but between potential and talent.
This book changes the way we look at the old religions. Well, it at least changed how I do. Since I read The Iron Druid chronicles before finding out about this book, I can honestly say as a personal journey, American Gods smothers the emotional fire. Kevin Hearne is one of my favorite authors and the way I read his books was as an RPG of sorts. Neil Gaiman on the other hand, while having written a brilliant book, stays a little farther back from Shadow than I liked, and I couldn’t get the same insight as into a first person POV. The greater advantage to third person in the case of American Gods is, Gaiman had the opportunity to sell back story and exposition a lot better than The Iron Druid could in first person.
This was a ballad written by a bard who lived on this fantastic journey, but to tell his story, he must go on the occasional tangent. While somewhat disjointed as a result, American Gods was an encouraging read filled with truth and lies, fiction and nonfiction, and progress in the face of tradition.
Look, I see a lot of differing reviews on this book. I think if you are able to listen to the Audible version you would like it better. The many actors bring this far-fetched story alive. The narrators: Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes, and full cast (whatever that means) make you see gods, goddesses and dead people and other characters. They help you feel the cold, the pain, smell rot or smoke.
I don't know if I would have liked the book had I just read it without the Audible narration. I think it might have been more meandering and possibly boring. What kept me going was wanting to see what would happen to the main character. And having a bit of interest in other religions and cultures I wanted to see how Neil Gaiman would portray them and the war between them as they were fading into the obscurity of disbelief.
This wasn't my favorite book. It is very male-heavy. Goddesses and women were given little time or depth. BUT I doubt I will forget it and may want to read it again in a few years and see how it affects me then. I highly recommend using the audio version to immerse in this world, which may be America, but a different dimension than where most live.
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Perhaps looking for quality........ soooooo rare to find anymore !