American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Wow! This book took me a long time to read. Although, we did move into a new house and my book was in some box for at least a week, maybe longer…
I have been wracking my brain for the words to describe this book and to adequately describe its beauty and profundity (especially for those of you who have read the book); unfortunately I am just going to have to write my thoughts either way…
This book was my introduction to Neil Gaiman. I have to say that the writing style was absolutely exquisite. This is probably the first book that I could describe what was happening without having to think about it when asked what part I was at. Gaiman has a way of drawing the reader into his world and not letting go until he is ready.
The book begins with the main character, Shadow, in prison for a crime that is described, piece by piece, throughout the entire book. Shadow is up for parole and released a few days early due to a tragedy that I found to be quite predictable.
On the way home, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday, who presents Shadow with an offer of employment. At first, Shadow refuses, but ends up conceding to the proposal. The contract between employer and employee is sealed with three glasses of mead and a bar fight.
Shadow, through his link with Mr. Wednesday, finds himself in a plethora of situations he could never have anticipated; some of which being dangerous. The myriad of people Shadow is introduced to are vibrant, wacky, familiar, and strange all at the same time. He also finds himself face to face with a person from his past whom he never thought he would see again.
Gaiman’s concept of the existence of Gods is both unique and thought provoking. Interspersed throughout the story of Shadow and his many adventures with Mr. Wednesday are the details of how each God came to exist in America. These stories are both ancient and beautiful in their magnificence.
The book is a question of faith. An idea that beliefs can shape realities. Worship and obsession have the ability to immortalize. In the end, we all have to face our pasts, witness our beginnings, and welcome our endings. We have to decide where to draw our lines and when to take a stance, no matter how powerful the opposition. It is ourselves we answer to, the power of our beliefs give and take energy and ability from those some people hide from in fear of retribution. Our Gods and our lives are our own making.
To describe the book too thoroughly would rob the reader of the pleasure that is reading Gaiman’s work. So I must leave my review here, though I highly recommend this book be added to the top of the reading list of those of you who have not read it…