American Gods

American Gods

Book - 2011
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After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break...Disturbing, gripping and profoundly strange, Gaiman's epic new novel sees him on the road to the heart of America.
Publisher: London : Headline Review, 2011, c2001.
Edition: 10th anniversary ed.
ISBN: 9780755386246
9781472245540
Characteristics: xiv, 658 p. ; 20 cm.

Opinion

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MissRoslyn Sep 02, 2015

By far Neil's best book. The characters are relateable and interesting, the plot line is enjoyable and Shadow is a enjoyable character to follow around.


From the critics


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a
annaburger
Nov 28, 2018

people - "American fantasy" -- "what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands" - Richard Dorson

fantastical, funny and exciting road adventure

i
Inga57
Nov 07, 2018

Distorted view of religion or wizardly sarcasm?
Deliciously weird.
Bizarre to behold.
Strangely satisfying.

sundanced Oct 10, 2018

Gaiman combines myth and folklore in this episodic adventure that culminates into a battle between the gods of yore and contemporary deities. A must read!

b
BohoBookDragon
Oct 09, 2018

One of my favorites from Gaiman. A captivating story with a cast of characters that come to life in the pages. I love the idea surrounding "Who are the Gods of America of today?"

l
lukasevansherman
Sep 28, 2018

"Nobody's American. Not originally."
Recently watched the television adaptation of the book and enjoyed it. Aside from "The Sandman," I haven't read much of Neil Gaiman, but this sweeping and inventive novel, which draws heavily on myth, religion, and folklore, was great, even if you're not a fan of fantasy."
"This is the only country in the world that worries about what it is."

m
Mbussey
Aug 25, 2018

Another brilliant novel by Gaiman. This story captivates the reader with its some what horrifying tells of gods and their thirst for control. Loved it

i
isaachar
Jul 16, 2018

Another great example of modern literature by Neil Gaiman. American Gods is an amazing work of fiction with a large amount of history, mythology, religion, fantasy and horror blended into a tale about the journey of an ex-con named Shadow. The audiobook version is done in an audiodrama format, and all of the voice actors did amazing jobs in their roles. As per usual with Gaiman novels, it's the small things that stick out the most in his stories. Behind the mythology in this novel were a number of instances of theoretical archaeology. The 'cut away' stories on how some of the gods arrived in America all tie into unproven theories and possibilities that are still come up every now and then in archaeology and paleontology. The story of the building war between the 'old world gods' of humanity and the younger deities representing what modern American venerate or fear (the internet, computers, traffic, conspiracies, television, media) was interesting, but it was the smaller things in the background that kept me reading.

The ending was not entirely predictable, though some people might want to have seen more happen 'on screen' rather than allusions to it in the background. My only complaint is a chapter Gaiman intentionally left out to avoid stepping on any toes. It's included at the end of book, where Gaiman explains that he couldn't 'fit' it into the rest of the story. In my opinion, it very much fits into the story. In fact, it would have made the overall story resonate much more. I see why he made the choice to leave it, but it could have made an incredible book even more so.

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

Gaiman, the award winning British writer, took readers on a road trip coast to coast in USA. Along the way, he told tales of Gods among us … an unusual and enjoyable read (SF, horror, fantasy, mystery, thriller, mythology and one heck of a love story) with or without partaking camp-fire food infused with Peyote.

Note: There are plenty of material from the novel for at least two more seasons of the TV series “American Gods”; and that Season One showed much more graphic violence and raw sex than the book in mho.

l
Linyarai
May 05, 2018

I read this for the "A Book about travel" part of my 2018 reading challenge. I loved it, like I love all of his books. I enjoyed the road trip through the US and the idea that landmarks are places of worship. I also liked the variety of different gods.

l
Lotushead
Apr 10, 2018

A strange original. I had never read anything like this before. Capable to giving chills and the creeps without violent action.

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Quotes

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m
Mbussey
Aug 25, 2018

“Hey," said Shadow. "Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are."
The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.
"Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow.
"Fuck you," said the raven.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

Too many favorites, here is a subset:
“Easter. Just like the sun rises in the east, you know.” “The risen son. Of course—a most logical supposition.”
===
THE ONLY WOMAN I HAVE EVER LOVED WAS ANOTHER MAN’S WIFE…MY MOTHER!
======
Wednesday looked like he had learned to smile from a manual.
===
“for the joy’s gone out of me now, like the pee from a small boy in a swimming pool on a hot day.”
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Every hour wounds. The last one kills. Where had he heard that?
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“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”
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Chicago happened slowly, like a migraine. First they were driving through countryside, then, imperceptibly, the occasional town became a low suburban sprawl, and the sprawl became the city.

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

Each bee makes only a tiny, tiny drop of honey. It takes thousands of them, millions perhaps, all working together to make the pot of honey you have on your breakfast table. Now imagine that you could eat nothing but honey. That’s what it’s like for my kind of people…we feed on belief, on prayers, on love.
===

“I know a charm that will heal with a touch. “I know a charm that will turn aside the weapons of an enemy. “I know another charm to free myself from all bonds and locks.
===
There were men in black trains out there. There was a fat kid in a stretch limo and there were people in the television who did not mean them well.
===

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. —BEN FRANKLIN, POOR RICHARD’S ALMANACK
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San Francisco isn’t in the same country as Lakeside any more than New Orleans is in the same country as New York or Miami is in the same country as Minneapolis.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

Her green eyes looked at Wednesday. They were, Shadow decided, the exact same color as a leaf in spring with the sun shining through it.
===

“My mom used to say, ‘Life isn’t fair,’” said Shadow. “Of course she did,” said Wednesday. “It’s one of those things that moms say, right up there with ‘If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?’”
===

It’s true what they say, thought Shadow. If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.
===
“Oh. I thought it was maybe like an X-Files kinda thing,” he says.
===

“You play your cards so close to your chest,” said Shadow, “that I’m not even sure that they’re really cards at all.”
===

Nobody ever told Paul Bunyan stories. Nobody ever believed in Paul Bunyan. He came staggering out of a New York ad agency in 1910 and filled the nation’s myth stomach with empty calories.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

“There are too many towns hereabouts that only exist for the hunters and the vacationers, towns that just take their money and send them home with their trophies and their bug bites. Then there are the company towns, where everything’s just hunky-dory until Wal-Mart relocates their distribution center or 3M stops manufacturing CD cases there or whatever and suddenly there’s a boatload of folks who can’t pay their mortgages.
===
There are stories that are true, in which each individual’s tale is unique and tragic, and the worst of the tragedy is that we have heard it before, and we cannot allow ourselves to feel it too deeply.
===

Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

Wolf said, no, people will die, people must die, all things that live must die, or they will spread and cover the world, and eat all the salmon and the caribou and the buffalo, eat all the squash and all the corn.
===

“We call him Inktomi here. I think it’s the same guy. My grandfather used to tell some pretty good stories about him. Of course, all the best of them were kind of dirty.”
===

“You know the white population all round here is falling? You go out there, you find ghost towns. How you going to keep them down on the farm, after they seen the world on their television screens?
===

Wars are being fought all the time, with the world outside no more the wiser: the war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on drugs. This war was smaller than those, and huger, and more selective, but it was as real as any.
===

“Bilquis,” he says, again. And then he sings, in a voice not made for singing, “You are an immaterial girl living in a material world.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

“There’s only so much belief to go around. They’re reaching the end of what they can give us. The credibility gap.” And then he sings, once again, in his tuneless nasal voice, “You are an analog girl, living in a digital world.”
===

“Is he cute?” “Who?” “The neighbor.” “His name’s Ainsel. Mike Ainsel. He’s okay. Too young for me. Big guy, looks…what’s the word. Begins with an M.” “Mean? Moody? Magnificent? Married?” A short laugh, then, “Yes, I guess he does look married.
===

LIFE IS A CABERNET
===

He wanted to be entertained, not to have to think, just to sit and let the sounds and the light wash over him.
===

“Organizing gods is like herding cats into straight lines. They don’t take naturally to it.”
===

I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theatres from state to state.

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

… jade is dried dragon sperm,
===
I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive.
===

I believe that life is a game, life is a cruel joke and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
===

“Would you believe that all the gods that people have ever imagined are still with us today?” “…maybe.” “And that there are new gods out there, gods of computers and telephones and whatever, and that they all seem to think there isn’t room for them both in the world. And that some kind of war is kind of likely.”
===

An ordinance prohibiting expectoration on sidewalks and on the floors of public buildings, or throwing thereon tobacco in any form, was introduced and passed, eight to four, in December of 1876.

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

His voice was deep, and cultured: the voice of a man who could as easily organize a press briefing as a massacre.
===

They had a god, who was the skull of a mammoth, and the hide of a mammoth fashioned into a rough cloak. Nunyunnini they called him.
===

And the ice times came and the ice times went, and the people spread out across the land, and formed new tribes and chose new totems for themselves: ravens and foxes and ground sloths and great cats and buffalo, each a taboo beast that marked a tribe’s identity, each beast a god.
===

He gently patted Shadow on the back and almost sent him sprawling. It was like being gently patted on the back by a wrecking ball.
===

Alviss son of Vindalf. He’s the king of the dwarfs. The biggest, mightiest, greatest of all the dwarf folk.” “But he’s not a dwarf,” pointed out Shadow. “He’s what, five eight? Five nine?” “Which makes him a giant among dwarfs,” said Czernobog from behind him. “Tallest dwarf in America.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 01, 2018

Near as anyone could figure it out, the exact center of the continental United States was several miles from Lebanon, in Smith County, Kansas, on Johnny Grib’s hog farm.
===

You mustn’t be afraid of the dark.” “I’m not,” said Shadow. “I’m afraid of the people in the dark.”
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“it’s not the death that matters. It’s the opportunity for resurrection. And when the blood flows…”
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today’s future is tomorrow’s yesterday.”
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Prison friendships are good things: they get you through bad places and through dark times. But a prison friendship ends at the prison gates, and a prison friend who reappears in your life is at best a mixed blessing.
===

“I’m tired of mysteries.” “Yeah? I think they add a kind of zest to the world. Like salt in a stew.”

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Mbussey
Aug 25, 2018

Mbussey thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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MERAJ AHMED KHAN
Jul 06, 2017

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alexapichora
Jan 17, 2017

alexapichora thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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chromium88
Mar 29, 2015

chromium88 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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bilida
Aug 11, 2014

bilida thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Sophie2798
Jun 24, 2014

Sophie2798 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Jeroman
Sep 03, 2013

Jeroman thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Aug 14, 2013

seaeffess thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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hDlVivace thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Dr_Inferno
Mar 27, 2012

Dr_Inferno thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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Notices

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vv1 Mar 12, 2015

Sexual Content: Contains some sexual content

vv1 Mar 12, 2015

Coarse Language: There is swearing, but it did not feel excessive.

vv1 Mar 12, 2015

Violence: Has some scenes depicting violence or the aftermath of violence.

hDlVivace Jun 18, 2012

Coarse Language: Used in conjunction with the sexual content at times. Other times swearing is prevalent with R-rated language. But language is carefully controlled to an extent and not used unneedlessly.

j
jabey
Jun 10, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Summary

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s
Stonesoul1
Jul 01, 2015

Possibly one of the greatest pieces of modern Literature by a writer who is surely one of he greatest literary treasures of our time. Gaiman weaves a complex and epic tale of Old World deities surviving adapting and warring in the New World, bereft of the believers that brought them there.

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