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American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 21, 2011
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
Shadow, just out of prison and with nothing to go home to, is hired to be Mr. Wednesday's bodyguard as he travels around America to warn all the other incarnations of gods, legends, and myths, that "a storm is coming." There's going to be a battle between the old gods who were brought to melting pot America by their faithful followers generations ago, and the new gods of technology, convenience, and individuality.
That's the premise of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and it's just crackling with promise! But unfortunately, that's not really what this novel is about. It's what the novel keeps telling us it's about (and what many critics told us it was about), but it doesn't deliver.
Yes, there are plenty of gods, myths, and legends, and Gaiman does great things with some of them (e.g., Ibis the undertaker and Mr. Nancy) but most are never developed and a reader who has not read an encyclopedia of folklore probably won't catch all the clever allusions.
Yes, there's Neil Gaiman's characteristic style, which I always enjoy. His prose is clean, unvarnished, and exquisite. His characters are recognizable; His America is recognizable. In fact, this was the best part of the book (and what Gaiman does so well) -- Shadow's roadtrip across the United States gave Gaiman plenty of opportunities to showcase his humorous insights into the human condition and, in this case, small-town American life. This was lovely, and I enjoyed these parts of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just read it. And try to keep an open mind while you are reading. You will be glad you did.Published 8 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Not my cup of tea.....I was hoping I'd "get into it" at some point, but it's not happening. Doubt I'll even finish reading it. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Carole Robinson
This was a very entertaining book. I was already a Neil Gaiman fan, but this was the best thing I ever read by him.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
I like a lot of the other stuff Neil has written much better. Plot got a little messy and faded but the characters were awesome. Read morePublished 4 days ago by craig j catalano
Disclaimer: I am a Neil Gaiman fan, and I thought this was a great story. I think with a few of his books - the concept isn't new (gods walking on earth) but the really reason to... Read morePublished 4 days ago by J. Gross
Excellent book. American Gods is well written, thought provoking and intriguing. It's a unique story that is much more than one story. I highly recommend it.Published 4 days ago by Kindle Customer
I am thrilled with the new cover art, and to own a fresh copy of the novel. But to be clear, the print is inexplicably HUGE and the pages narrow. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Paige
I acquired this book when it was offered at a discount along with several others from Audible. I thought at first it was an historical work on the great men of American industry at... Read morePublished 6 days ago by William Edward Schenck