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American Godsis 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 hisSandmandays.

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.

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Details

ISBN-10:  0060558121 (pbk.)
ISBN-13:  9780060558123 (pbk.)
Author:  Neil Gaiman
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Publisher:  Harper Perennial
Date Published:  September 2, 2003
Format:  Novel
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review by . July 02, 2010
This novel by Gaiman is my absolute favorite of his. The main character, Shadow, starts out kind of neutral, and a bit non-emotional. You start to realize as you read however, that he is you. perhaps a little more calm, a little more cynical, but for all intents and purposes, what else could you do in these situations but go along with them, much like he does.      "American Gods" begins with an upsetting situation for Shadow, but things start to look up (or at least …
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Neil Gaiman's best novel. Very much feels like The Sandman.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
this is pretty good, y'all. gaiman's more traditional novels are the bomb diggity.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Alright enough.
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
This was well-written, though not really my cup of tea. I tried to like it because a friend recommended it, but I just couldn't.
Quick Tip by . May 26, 2010
Who knew it would take an Englishman to truly understand America?!
review by . January 06, 2010
The premise is brilliant: America, the immigrant nation, where old Gods had to be imported by the poor huddled masses because there were none already here, finds it has grown new Gods after all - styled after the new Americans' "worship" of their gadgets, media and consumerist lifestyle. The people now *consume* their idols: in the old days, the idols demanded it was the other way around - that was the sustenance of the Gods, and consequently we find the old Gods now worn out, power weakening, in …
review by . November 29, 2009
Pros: Interesting idea.     Cons: Takes forever, book blurb is hugely misleading     The Bottom Line: Though I can see why other people like it, I was very far from impressed.     I love Coraline.  I love Mirrormask.  I love Neil Gaiman's weirdness and unique ideas.  So finally I decided I should read some of his adult work since I am, after all, an adult.  So I picked up American Gods from the library and read it.   &nbs …
review by . February 26, 2009
American Gods, Urban Fantasy by Neil Gaiman
I'll admit that urban fantasy is a genre with a particular amount of interest to me. I write in my free time, and a fair amount of my work is in this strange genre. However, I have to admit, a lot of my inspiration in this genre came from reading this book. Not to mention a fair amount of knowledge on Mythology and a new appreciation/view for American culture.    American Gods tells the unlikely tale of a recently released convict by the name of Shadow, who was let out of prison …
review by . May 11, 2006
Some fantasies are impossible to classify, and are almost impossible to review. "American Gods" is one of them. Zelazny's "Lord of Light" is a story of a 'gods versus gods' war, and so is this book. But in Gaiman's book, everyone is either a god, an unusually decent American, a serial killer disguised as a decent American, or a wife who returns from the dead. The only gods who don't show up are Big J and his only begotten Son. My favorite characters are the Egyptian deities who run a funeral home …
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