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American Gods
 
 

American Gods [Kindle Edition]

Neil Gaiman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (333 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Within just a few pages of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, he commandingly reveals that he is at his considerable best with this disturbing and dark journey into the hidden soul of America. Gaiman, one of the most talented and imaginative writers at work today, achieved nigh-legendary status with his comic Sandman, which took the genre to heights that even the equally talented Alan Moore had not attained; Gaiman's subsequent career as a novelist has displayed the same glittering inventiveness and exquisite use of language.

Gaiman's protagonist Shadow has patiently done his time in prison. But as the moment of his release approaches, he begins to sense that some unnamed disaster is lying in wait for him. As he makes his way home, he encounters the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who appears to be both a refugee from a distant country at war and the King of America. And perhaps even a god. As Shadow and Mr Wednesday begin a bizarre odyssey across the United States, solving murders is only one of their accomplishments. With an epic storm of supernatural origin brewing, one questions whether they will be destroyed before Shadow pays the price for grim mistakes in his past.

The use of language here is impeccable, and it is wedded to a surreal narrative that brings out the most quirky and unsettling aspects of Gaiman's imagination. Forget Gaiman the Guru: just enjoy Gaiman the consummate writer:

He opened his mouth to catch the rain as it fell, moistening his cracked lips and his dry tongue, wetting the ropes that bound him to the trunk of the tree. There was a flash of lightning so bright it fell like a blow to his eyes, transforming the world into an intense panorama of image and after-image. The wind tugged at Shadow, trying to pull him from the tree, flaying him, cutting to the bone. Shadow knew in his soul that the real storm had truly begun...
--Barry Forshaw

Amazon Review

Within just a few pages of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, he commandingly reveals that he is at his considerable best with this disturbing and dark journey into the hidden soul of America. Gaiman, one of the most talented and imaginative writers at work today, achieved nigh-legendary status with his comic Sandman, which took the genre to heights that even the equally talented Alan Moore had not attained; Gaiman's subsequent career as a novelist has displayed the same glittering inventiveness and exquisite use of language.

Gaiman's protagonist Shadow has patiently done his time in prison. But as the moment of his release approaches, he begins to sense that some unnamed disaster is lying in wait for him. As he makes his way home, he encounters the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who appears to be both a refugee from a distant country at war and the King of America. And perhaps even a god. As Shadow and Mr Wednesday begin a bizarre odyssey across the United States, solving murders is only one of their accomplishments. With an epic storm of supernatural origin brewing, one questions whether they will be destroyed before Shadow pays the price for grim mistakes in his past.

The use of language here is impeccable, and it is wedded to a surreal narrative that brings out the most quirky and unsettling aspects of Gaiman's imagination. Forget Gaiman the Guru: just enjoy Gaiman the consummate writer:

He opened his mouth to catch the rain as it fell, moistening his cracked lips and his dry tongue, wetting the ropes that bound him to the trunk of the tree. There was a flash of lightning so bright it fell like a blow to his eyes, transforming the world into an intense panorama of image and after-image. The wind tugged at Shadow, trying to pull him from the tree, flaying him, cutting to the bone. Shadow knew in his soul that the real storm had truly begun...
--Barry Forshaw

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1280 KB
  • Print Length: 612 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B006U1QUJI
  • Publisher: Review (10 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005NACYQU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (333 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a tour de force of creative talent. He is the bestselling author of Coraline and Stardust, both of which are major motion films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf starring Anthony Hopkins and Angeline Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman comic series and has written several books for children. His latest title, The Graveyard Book, won the Teenage Booktrust Prize 2009. Neil has been immortalised in song by Tori Amos, and is a songwriter himself. His official website now has more than one million unique visitors each month, and his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a story about ancient gods and their struggle to survive in a world where their fickle worshippers have abandoned them in favour of advertisements, technology and consumerism. Shadow is an ex-con who gets catapulted into a crazy world where he finds himself helping the old gods reclaim their relevance. Throughout the book, we follow Shadow on his journey through America as the sidekick of the enigmatic Wednesday, recruiting disenchanted gods to help win a war that will bring them back to their former glories.
If the premise sounds intriguing, rest assured that it is, unfortunately the execution lets it down slightly. The best parts of the book are the parts spent encountering the old gods who have been forced to live human lives in America after their once loyal worshippers have either died or forgotten them. More interesting still are the occasional glimpses into the gods’ true forms which are spectacular and often terrifying in equal measure. The Ifrit and The Queen of Seba scenes are just a few that spring to mind. There is no denying the Gaiman’s imagination is one of the best in modern fiction, and “American Gods” never falters in the imagination department .
Another commendable aspect is the characters themselves. From the ever mysterious Wednesday to the fear-inducing Czernobog, Gaiman’s characters are a unique and interesting bunch with a strong motive directing their actions. Whilst it is natural for the reader to back the cause of the old gods, it is never made explicit that they have morally superior reasons for their actions than the new gods do. This lends their exploits some moral ambiguity, where it is left to the reader to decide which group is on the side of right, or indeed whether either of them are.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to end... 17 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I will keep this short. I read this when it came out and enjoyed it, almost 10 years on I picked it up again and loved it. I have found myself thinking about the book when away from it, it has a magical effect, so fantastical yet so grounded in reality that you will never look at a cat or an undertaker in quite the same way. I am very excited to hear that HBO are planning a series based on it and the author is writing a sequel... Can't wait! If you like your fantasy a little dark, a little humorous, a little real, this is the book for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Götterdämmerung 24 Nov 2014
By P. G. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Shadow is nearing the end of his prison sentence for assault. Shortly before his release date he is called into the governor's office to be told of the death of his beloved wife Laura. Stunned and bereft, he is released early and on the way home he makes the acquaintance of the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who offers him an ill defined job, the contract for which is sealed by Shadow's drinking large quantities of mead.

The premise of American Gods is that every race and nationality settling in America has, by worshipping its own Gods, brought them to the new world. However in a society where they are largely forgotten they have lost many of their powers, but live on in the margins. It is their world into which Mr Wednesday (it shouldn't take too much thought to work out his true identity) draws Shadow to act as an odd job man, bodyguard and courier. It is a world where the cultural melting pot of America is mirrored in a bewildering mix of Gods and deities from Norse, Egyptian, Indian, middle European, Native American, and many other religions and mythologies.

However the old Gods are under threat as America worships the car, the computer and capitalism, and these new subjects of devotion become aggressively embodied, seeking to wipe out their forbears.

American Gods is a massively ambitious work, seeking to explore, through this fantastical netherworld, the very soul of America. It is also an interesting work to categorise. Very obviously it is a work of fantasy. However, if Gaiman wasn't already pigeon-holed as a genre writer, and perhaps if he wasn't a Brit writing about America, this could easily be seen as a magical realist work.
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82 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big book, big ideas 30 Nov 2005
Format:Paperback
American Gods is a big book in more ways than one; not only is it over six hundred pages long, but it deals with big ideas. The main character, Shadow, has been released from prison a few days early in order to be able to attend his wife's funeral. On the way home, he's recruited buy the mysterious Mr Wednesday.
It eventually transpires that Shadow has been recruited into a war between gods; the old gods, brought to America by the various immigrants over time, and the new gods of television and media and so forth.
The nice thing about this book is the amount of mythology hidden to a lesser or greater extent in the storytelling. Some of the gods are more easily recognisable than others; the jump from "Mr Nancy" to "Anansi", for instance, is not so great, whereas the link between Mr Wednesday to Odin is not as immediately obvious. But you don't have to have much grounding in mythology to be able to enjoy the book, which is one of the great things about it; there are plenty of layers to be unpicked, if you're that way inclined, but on the other hand, you can just sit back and enjoy Neil Gaiman's masterful storytelling.
The added benefit of this particular edition is the author interview in the back, which gives that extra little insight into the book. It's apparently also the author's preferred text, though having read both versions, I have to say that for the reader it makes little difference.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as some of his other books
Enjoyable although confusing at times. Not as good as some of his other books.
Published 3 days ago by liz mann
4.0 out of 5 stars The headline is longet
Alright
Published 3 days ago by daniel
4.0 out of 5 stars strange but compelling
Brilliant imagination. Original and an unusual tour of America. Perhaps could have gone a little deeper with the Gods, some of the characters lacked depth. Well most of them. Read more
Published 9 days ago by tim
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great value 👍
Published 11 days ago by Nookoftghenorth
3.0 out of 5 stars heavy on gods, short on fiction
My least favourite of his books but still a great way of wasting some time enjoyably. Disappointed the gods don't drink something classier than Budweiser
Published 16 days ago by Dejan Stamenkovic
5.0 out of 5 stars and this may be one of the few books I'd like to read again
I don't know why I've avoided Neil Gaiman for so long. Just finished this, and this may be one of the few books I'd like to read again. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended.
a really well written book, constructed excellently and splendid story line.
highly recommended.
Published 23 days ago by DAF
5.0 out of 5 stars Old gods in modern america
Brilliant book. Great work of imagination and story telling. Brings the old gods to life in modern america. Stunning achievement. A wonderful interpretation of Odin.
Published 23 days ago by roger brook
2.0 out of 5 stars The book arrived in good time, but I have to say it was ...
The book arrived in good time, but I have to say it was in a bit of a state it had mug stains on the back and. Also it had a different cover from what was advertised.
Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars I did enjoy parts of it and the metaphors
This was also for my book club and it's not really my style. I did enjoy parts of it and the metaphors, but I think the subtext is a bit too complicated for me and I'm not used to... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Laura82
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