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American Gods: A Novel Paperback – Aug 21 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (Aug. 21 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060558121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060558123
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (444 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Shadow had done three years in prison. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Larouche TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 7 2011
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stone on 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 By Coreena McBurnie on April 7 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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. I've been telling everyone about it and can't wait to get my hands on another book by Gaiman. The storyline is unique and off the wall and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then there is the writing. Gaiman is a master of language. There are even passages I marked because I loved them so much and want to reread them again later. All that being said, I did not race through this book, but savored it. It took me a while to read because I didn't want to rush it..

It is not only the writing that's intriguing, but the subject matter. Gaiman explores interesting issues and philosophies, the way our culture has changed since people started coming to North America, and even what has happened since. This all revolves around the gods - the ancient ones from the old country and the new one's of technology and money.

Shadow is in jail for a bank robbery and, after three years, is going to be released. He has everything to live for, until he finds out that his wife and best friend (also his future employer) have been killed in a car accident. Shadow leaves jail and goes home, unsure of what he will do. Along the way he meets Mr. Wednesday, who offers him a job. It turns out that Wednesday is an old world god, trying to rally up other gods to fight the new world gods for survival.

I don't want to say too much about this book because I don't want to give it away. There are so many twists and turns, rich explorations of ideas, and stunning writing, that it will keep you turning the pages.

One of my favorite quotes (because I love books so much):

“What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul.”
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