- Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (April 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380789035
- ISBN-13: 978-0380789030
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.6 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5,664 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Gods Mass Market Paperback – April 30, 2002
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Smooth, feel written, with details unfolding seemingly on every page. Not quite a edgy as Chuck Palahniuk, but just as well written. Very much worth your time. Both authors read bout as quickly. Both fast paced, great stories... what's not to live about books/author that pull you in very quickly, and won't let go for weeks, if not months later
Shadow and Wednesday relationship evolved over time via chunks of dialog or small scenes.
The side characters vary in their quality and most of the new gods were a lot more intriguing and interesting than the old ones. Some of the side stories (e.g. taxi driver) were unnecessary and quite boring.
Speaking of unnecessary, there re couple of sex scenes that serve a little purspose, except to have a juicy description of the sex act. Perhaps only the Wednesday's exploits were relevant to the plot.
In conclusion, the book has an intriguing story, although a bit predictable. And there's no point reading for the hidden truths. But it's a fun read overall.
Well, now that I read Stardust, I sort of feel like I could have waited a life time to read it.
Don't get me wrong, Stardust offers some wonderful descriptions and imagery of the very enticing journey through Faerie; but, the reason I picked up the book was not to journey through Faerie, but to journey through the growing love of Tristran and Yvaine.
They spend so much time away from each other that when they finally confess their love, it seems awkward and hardly believable even in a world with fairies, witches, and hairy little men! No offense, but who starts talking about having children even before you have your first kiss? Creepy....Even when they are together Yvaine is either sleeping, or Tristran is finding food. The only dialogue we get between them is when they were stuck in a cloud. It was rather unforuntate.
I feel as if the book spent the whole time discussing everyone else in Faerie, but Tristran and Yvaine.
There were a lot of characters and fascinating ones too, but they were never fully written to develop their on page character. Gaiman should have completely left out the lilim and focused his attention on Primus and Septimus. Knowing Spetimus' character he would have cut out Yvaine's heart if he knew she was a star, so either way, she was definitely in danger.
However, the ones Gaiman did focus on had some strange character shifts too (of course, in my opinion). For example, Lady Una was intoxicating at the beginning of the book. She portrayed the fairytale temptress, but pure at the same time, if that makes any sense. By the end of the book, she was just plain annoying. It didn't seem like the same "Una."
Even Mr. Tristan Thorn was disappointing. Throughout the book, I can't recount how many times he mentioned how he looked forward to returning to Wall to become a farm boy, but when he finally learns who he is, which he even claims is "liberating" and "exhilarating" he doesn't want to honor his "responsibilities." Strange.
I saw the movie too, and I'm not one to say movies are ever better than their "makers," but I believe that the movie STARDUST exceeds the book. A word of advice for those who wish to read the book after seeing the movie, "be careful what you wish for."
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(I'm my head we are on first name bases)