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American Gods
 
 

American Gods [Kindle Edition]

Neil Gaiman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)

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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:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,190 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
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
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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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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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bucketloads of imagination..... 26 Oct 2011
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not being a fan of "fantasy" novels I knew from the outset that this was probably not going to be my cup of tea. However it came highly recommended by a young family member so I decided to give it a go.

American Gods is essentially a road trip book and is written with great energy and bucketloads of imagination. The main premise is that gods die when they are forgotten but many have been brought to the New World by immigrants and are still around and impinging on the lives of humans. Some of the gods are more easy to identify than others (Mr Wednesday=Odin, Mr Nancy=Anansi and Low Key=Loki). In Shadow (the main protagonist) the analogy with Christianity is implicit - the tree, death, resurrection, the wound in the side.

Shadow's journey criss-crossing the United States is told from the outsider's viewpoint. He passes through towns with fascinating names: Thebes, Peru, Cairo etc. and meets equally fascinating characters.

This is a big novel packed with action and ideas but a bit rambling and ragged in parts. However I can understand its appeal - it is energetic, witty and imaginative.

At one point a character says "All things have rules." "Yeah," said Shadow, "But nobody tells me what they are." As a new reader to this genre I felt the same!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Swollen beyond measure 9 Jun 2009
By Crookedmouth HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Mr Gaiman tells us that this version (the "author's preferred text") is much enlarged from the original release. If this is so, then he would do well to listen to his editor next time, because there's some serious pruning needed here. As the book is aimed squarely at the US market (which seems to prefer a high weight to content ratio) it's hardly surprising that the editing process added pages rather than (and this is the more traditional function of an edit) remove them.

All that said, I actually enjoyed the book to begin with. It's witty, fun, absorbing and all that, and covers a lot of ground. The allegory is hardly subtle, and it reads like Stephen King on incense, but the rambling nature of the plot is engaging enough. In short, it's a supernatural road trip addressing the conflict between the old world gods and the icons of the technological age set against a small town American backdrop.

Nuff said: I have to admit that the scale of the project got the better of me in the end and I had to skim the last couple of chapters. The "war between the gods" that the story had been leading up to since the first page barely occupied more than a couple of paragraphs and seriously let the whole story down. Indeed, the ending is a bit of a damp squib all 'round.

I'm trying "Neverwhere" next, just to give Mr G a fair crack of the whip. However, I'm afraid that it's the "author's preferred text" (shudder).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars and read better novels. Starts well but about halfway through becomes...
The people raving about this novel need to get out more, or rather stay in more, and read better novels. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Southport psychobilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Really engaging read that I took on after a suggestion from a friend. Loved every bit of it, particularly the revelations about each God and the mini stories (I won't spoil... Read more
Published 4 days ago by sarah dowdall
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't like the prose too much
I'm still going on this one. Almost done, but I gotta be honest, I don't like the prose too much. It delivers on suspense, surprise and all that. But its not my cup of tea. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Trent Coelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Superbly written
Excellent. Superbly written.
Published 17 days ago by Paul Hunnisett
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat unusual
Odd but well worth it.
It's let down a little by the pacing and the end - the build up takes too long, introduces characters only to throw them away and ultimately doesn't... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Alex Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great item & price!
Published 22 days ago by Ms NA Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, I read the author favourite version which ...
Great book, I read the author favourite version which is a lot longer than the originally published version and I don't think it detracted at all. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Toby1
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Best book I've read in a long time. Kept me hooked up to the last page and completely unpredictable. Excellent!
Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an awesome book. Don't be put off by it's size
This is an awesome book. Don't be put off by it's size, it will really take you on a god-like epic journey. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Chris A
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long but still worth a read.
This is the first time I have not enjoyed a Neil Gaiman as much as his other books which did surprise me. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Paula Mc
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Popular Highlights

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&quote;
‘Every hour wounds. The last one kills.’ &quote;
Highlighted by 11 Kindle users
&quote;
‘Liberty,’ boomed Wednesday, as they walked to his car, ‘is a bitch who must be bedded on a mattress of corpses.’ &quote;
Highlighted by 9 Kindle users
&quote;
‘Tell him that we have fucking reprogrammed reality. Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam. &quote;
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