American Gods is both bizarre and brilliant, and a fun ride of a read. Our likeable protagonist, Shadow, meets crazy characters and wacky moments ensue on a strange journey across the country.
However, the ideas of the book run much deeper than just a cross country adventure. It is a story of layered themes and ideas. The old versus the new. The old Gods – such as Norse gods, religions and superstitions – which came to America in the heads and hearts of immigrants. Fast forward in time, modern day American society is consumed by media, technology, and fame – the new Gods. Thus unleashes the battle for the soul of America.
Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you—even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition. Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world. So none of this is happening. Such things could not occur. Never a word of it is literally true.
I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
I’m a big fan of Mr Gaiman. I’m also reading Norse Mythology which I would now recommend reading BEFORE American Gods.
Also by Gaiman, I loved The Graveyard Book, a young adult fantasy which won the Hugo Award in 2009. The Audible Full Cast Production is very cool and came highly recommended by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss also recently interviewed Gaiman on his podcast which is definitely worth a listen.
READ NOW: American Gods
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
AWARDS: Hugo Award for Best Novel 2002