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American Gods [Paperback]

Neil Gaiman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

19 Sep 2005

The extraordinary, highly acclaimed epic novel from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.

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 novel sees him on the road to the heart of America.

Includes extra material exclusive to this Headline Review edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (19 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755322819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755322817
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,550 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.


A very fine and imaginative writer (The Times)

'Gaiman has a rich imagination...and an ability to tackle large themes' (Philip Pullman)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bucketloads of imagination..... 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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23 of 24 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Found a new author 17 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a Stephen King and James Herbert, among others, for over thirty years now. However, for some strange reason I had never heard of Neil Gaiman. Well, I've just finished this book and I'm now looking forward many more from him. Oh yeah, need I say I loved this book?
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80 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big book, big ideas 30 Nov 2005
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What got me into Gaiman 4 Feb 2012
After driving down to Cornwall for a sun-and-sea camping holiday with the ladies, I realised I'd forgotten to bring a book, which was unusual for me since I'm a complete bookworm. I blamed it on the rush and panic of getting to the campsite on time and making sure we had everything. Luckily, one of my friends had brought two along with her and offered me American Gods. I'd not heard of Neil Gaiman until this point. I am so thankful that I was introduced to Gaiman's wonderful world of fiction. I could not put this book down, partly because I have a great interest in mythology, and partly because the prose was written in such a captivating way. I found the story very interesting, and the way Gaiman cleverly intertwined mythology of many cultures, along with 'modern gods' such as Internet, and Media. American Gods has ended up being one of my favourite books of all time. All time.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most fun that you can have by yourself. 22 Nov 2005
By Andrew
American Gods is possibly one of the greatest books ever written. Not because of its prose, not because it is an evolutionary book of its time, but because it is the most bizarrely conceived idea that is presented in an almost plausible manner with that magical ingredient: the story weaving ability of Neil Gaiman. I loved this book, truly.
The story centres on the character of Shadow who is about to be released from prison and is eager to get back to a life and, above all, back to his wife. Two days before he is due to be released Shadows wife dies tragically in a car accident. On the journey home from prison to attend his wife’s funeral Shadow meets the enigmatic Mr Wednesday who offers him a job. Having nothing of his old life remaining to go back to Shadow reluctantly agrees to the offer on, what he believes are, his terms.
Mr Wednesday takes Shadow to a bar where he drinks three glasses of mead to “seal the agreement” and the pair meet Mad Sweeney; a leprechaun and an alcoholic. From then on nothing in Shadows life is conventional as we follow him on the path of Mr Wednesday’s agenda to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.
I could rave on about this book but I would not want to spoil the plot for you. Needless to say it has won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award. This book is pure Gaiman; its book heroin. I was reading it on the toilet, on the tube, during my tea breaks, during commercial breaks, in fact any spare minute that I had was spent reading this book I enjoyed it that much, and now my girlfriend is suffering the same fate. I would recommend this read in a heartbeat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant story
I was recently asked what my favourite Neil Gaiman book was an I immediately picked American Gods (although Good Omens is hot on its tail), I then realised that I hadn't read it... Read more
Published 6 days ago by M. Brookes
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story
A fabulous story with a multitude of wonderful characters - not all of them nice.
Will definitely be reading the follow up.
Published 17 days ago by whammer67
4.0 out of 5 stars Gods
A fascinating and enjoyable book whose characters slowly come to life as the story progresses. I found it harder to put d the deeper into the story. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Mr. H. C. Eggleton
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!
Amazon offered great service: quick delivery, no damage, nice packing.
The book: awesome awesome awesome! I really enjoyed. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Thit Taaning
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting!
Great book and great ideas. Give it a chance and you won't regret it! I previously read Neverwhere and found this to be more adult in its theme but equally or more enjoyable.
Published 1 month ago by Scott Robert Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU know YOU want it to be true!
"What-which God are you? Very good reading.totally different from star dust, it threw me at first but then was a joy to read.
Published 1 month ago by warwick robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars American Gods
Ever wondered what happened to the gods and other mythical beings taken to America by its immigrants? Well now you can find out as we follow Shadow on a road trip with Mr. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Waylander101
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
My son recommended this book to me, although I found it enjoyable in parts, I found it hard to keep up with the story line, and felt the book was too long. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nigel Stockton
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly engaging and enjoyable
Unexpectedly interesting and absorbing. The idea of gods among men, the history and modernness all contributed to a totally unique road trip of a book
Published 1 month ago by Mark
3.0 out of 5 stars It started so well, but was ultimately disappointing
This was my first Neil Gaiman novel (although I had seen the film Stardust without realising who the author was), and I do think he writes very well. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jumeaux
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