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American Gods Paperback – 4 Mar 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; Export Ed edition (4 Mar 2002)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0747263744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747263746
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 4.6 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long hard look into the soul of America. (The Western Mail Cardiff)

`Gaiman wittily fleshes out his conceit... his wit and sense of the marvellous shine through, making American Gods an absolute must for fans of the genre' The Times (The Times)

An imaginative fantasy. (The Mail on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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 By G. Francis on 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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82 of 97 people found the following review helpful By "kangaroogrrrl" on 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 By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Oct 2011
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First time reading this author. The story draws on familiar devices and mythology: an alternative or parallel reality which can be accessed either by certain people or at certain locations where time and space behave differently; old gods are borrowed and new gods fabricated. Any fan of fantasy will find familiar themes.
However, it also felt really fresh. Fantasy in a very modern setting. I was hooked almost immediately.
Described as an on the road novel, the narrative is interwoven with dream sequences or alternative reality sequences and the reader is introduced to a large cast of characters along the way. Some are forgotten gods transplanted to the Americas centuries ago, only to fade out of memory, existing in the modern world as shadows of their former selves, hidden in plain sight, so to speak. Some are fully realised, three dimensional players; others contributing only brief but enigmatic appearances.
The apparent antagonism between the old and the new gods, generated by human worship of technology, forms a loose framework for the plot. Which feels loose all the way through. This isn't a criticism. I felt it was in keeping with the dream like quality of the whole. You are never quite sure whether you are in Kansas or not.
Following the main protagonist, Shadow, through this journey to its conclusion was a rewarding experience for me. I thought the writing was really good and in parts, beautiful. It was dark, engaging, thought provoking and weird in the very best way. And, I liked the ending! This kindle copy according to the foreword is the full authors edition, published for the American market. I didn't read the first published version and I'm glad I didn't. I can't see how this one could be bettered.
More than just good fantasy fiction. Thoroughly recommend!
Good kindle copy, although American spelling...small niggle really.
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