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American Gods [Turtleback]

Neil Gaiman
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (446 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition with Audio/Video --  
Hardcover CDN $21.00  
Turtleback, April 30 2004 --  
Paperback CDN $15.87  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.92  
MP3 CD, Audiobook CDN $35.16  

Book Description

April 30 2004 0606304940 978-0606304948
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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.

Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.

Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.

More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman's tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: "gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can't turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss's recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday's adversary, Mr. World. At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow's poignant personal moments and the tale's affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale's wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia. (One-day laydown, June 19)Forecast: Even when he isn't in top form, Gaiman, creator of the acclaimed Sandman comics series, trumps many storytellers. Momentously titled, and allotted a dramatic one-day laydown with a 12-city author tour, his latest will appeal to fans and attract mainstream review coverage for better or for worse because of the rich possibilities of its premise.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes My Top 10 Books List Feb. 16 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an absolutely fabulous book, and a must read for all fans of mythology and meta-mythology. It absolutely blew me away, and stayed in my thoughts for many, many days after I was done reading it.

This book was my introduction to Gaiman, and I still think it is his best (although his other stuff is great too).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sept. 20 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I, personally, adored this book. I loved the descriptive art Gaiman used throughout the story, whether he was describing a character or an atmosphere... he made you feel it. This is by far, one of the most intriguing, and fascinating books I have ever read, and I loved every minute of it. :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing concoction that never truly gels May 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", an intentionally oxymoronic title, is about the impending battle between the old gods (pick your poison: Odin, Loki, Vishnu, etc.) and the "new" (junk culture: TV, advertising, gambling, etc.). Stuck in the middle waiting to find out his destiny is a mortal man named Shadow. Soon to be released from jail, Shadow looks forward to a reunion with his wife Laura. Sadly, this reunion is not to be (or, it is not to be in the way Shadow envisions it). Shadow, stricken by grief, is thus enlisted in a battle, one that may decide the fate of the world, by a mysterious man named Wednesday.
Similar thematic territory was covered, with much more panache and verve, by Douglas Adams ("The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul") and by Neil's "Good Omens" writing partner, Terry Pratchett ("Small Gods"). Both books took a sidelong glance at the subject of modern deities and found an awful lot of humour there. Gaiman treats his subject with solemnity, and to my mind this is one of the reasons why the book suffers.
Fortunately, the story begins with a dramatic bang. Gaiman sets up his characters well, and then proceeds to create the universe in which they will live. He never betrays the beginning, but at times he lets the narrative (or, to describe it more accurately, the loose assemblage of scenes) get away from him. "I feel like I'm in a world with its own sense of logic. It's own rules," Shadow notes at one point early on. "I'm just going along with it, you know?" This is true, and it begins as a wonderful creation in Gaiman's hands. But later Shadow becomes more frustrated with the direction his life has taken: "Nobody tells me what [the rules] are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Way, Way Too Long June 23 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm sorry to have the only negative review thus far, but I've got to be honest. "Epic" is a good word for this book, but it is not a good book.
There are too many characters, many different plots (which I normally don't mind, but in this case I found them confusing), and the main "plot" was (in my mind) not a plot at all, but a mish-mash of stories about old gods from various parts of the world and how they had lost their power in today's world.
Some of the subplots (such as the murder mystery) and the inhabitants of the town of Lakeside were brief respites from the otherwise tiresome, dragged out, dark, and sad aspects of this book. I found myself not really caring about any of the "gods", and found the resolution of their "battle" anticlimactic. The main character's fate is comparable to Jesus dying for the benefit of others; then he is resurrected, but this event just doesn't make sense in the context of the book.
I would advise avoidance of this book unless you want something long, dreary, and scattered. Usually I take books I've read to the library for others to read. This one I am tempted to throw in the recycle bin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring as King in his worst moments May 15 2002
By Eliver
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I can't remember another time I got so bored reading a book. I don't know why Gaiman had to try to be "as good as Stephen King or your money back". I wish it were true, the "money back" part.. Remember "Insomnia"? "American gods" is just as boring. The story just never grips you: in the first 150 pages (the total length of some masterpieces) NOTHING happens, absolutely nothing, nada! I don't think I'll buy Gaiman again in the future. And BTW "Neverwhere" was not bad at all!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman's masterpiece July 7 2011
By G. Larouche TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before picking up "American Gods", I had only read one other book by Neil Gaiman, "Neverwhere", which I had loved. "American Gods" is completely different, but mind-boggling and amazing. I spent all weekend at home reading it; I simply couldn't put it down for more than hour without compulsively going back to it.

It is a rather complicated story to recap, but in essence, it follows the taciturn character of Shadow, as he is released from prison and hired my the mysterious Wednesday as a bodyguard. Wednesday travels all over the United-States to talk to other similarly strange people, who turn out to be the gods of the Old World, brought to America by immigrants and kept alive through belief, sacrifice and faith. But the New World is bad for them, and they are loosing power to the newer gods of the Western World: money, media, technology...

The meticulous research that went into producing this amazing novel is impressive. The writing style can be slow, but it is always compelling, sending chills down your spine and the compulsive need to turn the page and see what will happen next in this clash of old and new gods.

I read a lot of books, and few books have impressed me and kept me on edge until the last line as "American Gods" did. I believe it to be Gaiman's finest work. People with interest in mythology and history will love this, as will fans of strange sci-fi/fantasy works, and ultimately, anyone who enjoys good literature and amazing writing. I can't recommend it enough.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ma fille acheté ce livre pour sa formation. Elle le trouve très intéressant!
Published 20 days ago by Mathurin Boignan
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Ocean at the end of the lane) and I liked this book a lot
This is the second Neil Gaiman book I've read (first was Ocean at the end of the lane) and I liked this book a lot, although not as much as Ocean at the end of the lane.
Published 1 month ago by Brittany Jakubiec
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have been better with quicker pace.
Overall the book was well written with an original story and and unique takes on "old" characters. My major issues is the pace of the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by RobCons
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, not my thing.
I can see why a lot of people like Neil Gaiman, and I can see why people think this is a good book. That said it left me feeling unhappy and emotionally exhausted and it just... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Scott Reine
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Awesome book! Couldn't put it down most nights. Can't wait to read more books from the author, he is awesome.
Published 5 months ago by Steven Heron
4.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman is a dreamer
All through this story, it kept occurring to me that this seemed more like a dream than a story. You know how in a dream things all seem normal when all of a sudden someone or... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story Great Author
Very unique story told by one of the masters, Neil Gaiman.
I did like "Neverwhere" better, but this book kept me interested the whole way through. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Umantis
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Bizarre
This book came recommended and has good reviews. I thought I would like it. I didn't although I did not read the whole thing. I quit at 28% (or roughly 175 pages). Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rudyjuly2
1.0 out of 5 stars Puerile and cliché ridden
You will waste hours of valuable time plodding through this book. It is the intellectual equivalent of cotton candy. Read more
Published 13 months ago by simon taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Book
I want to start off by saying that I loved this book. It captured my interest right away and kept it all the way through. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Coreena McBurnie
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