Since it was first published, American Gods became an instant classic. Now discover the mystery and majesty of American Gods in this beautiful reissue of the Author's Preferred Text edition. Featuring a new preface by Neil Gaiman in honor of the novel's 20th anniversary, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece.
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Do Americans worship anything besides money, beauty, phones, and cars? Ask Shadow, a man enlisted to serve a strange deity who’s taken human form and is looking for allies in a coming war between Old and New. American Gods, Neil Gaiman’s richly imagined pageturner, invites you to suspend disbelief and open yourself to the possibility that the divine world harbors something ancient, alive—and worth believing in. Gaiman’s fluid prose effortlessly propels Shadow through a thrilling, hall-of-mirrors plot.
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)
Read the original edition first
My review of this edition of American Gods likely falls somewhere in the middle of what others have said. However, let me start off by saying that I’m a big fan of Gaiman. American Gods is certainly one of his better works, despite any of my negativity.
For the good, the story that Gaiman presents is both compelling and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and subversive world of the Gods. Gaiman draws the reader in and leaves you with both a sense of wonder and nostalgia for the old Gods and the new.
In terms of my complaints, I realized about halfway through that I should not have read this version. The 10th anniversary edition is much longer than the original and definitely gets a bit indulgent and slow. Gaiman himself acknowledges this in his introduction. Although I haven’t read the original edited version, I imagine that it’s an overall better telling.
So, my advice is to absolutely read this book whether you’re a fan of Gaiman or just enjoy the idea of “contemporary mythology.” (I made that up). Just don’t read this version unless you’re OK with a pound of extra fat!
Great lead up but the climax was anticlimactic. I was like “huh”? That’s the resolution?
Watch the show first to help picture the characters.
A strange struggle the multiverse
It’s a very interesting perspective on the idea of what God is