zondag 9 november 2014

Neil Gaiman: American Gods


American Gods is my 5th Neil Gaiman novel.
My copy is the new, extended edition with the author’s preferred text and it has 736 pages.
I got it from Book Depository.
You can find my Neil Gaiman reviews here.

The book won the 2002 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, SFX Magazine and Bram Stoker Awards. My hopes were high!

“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.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what - and who - it finds there...”

Gaiman put a lot of thought into this novel. He didn’t simply pile everything that interests him into the novel. And he has a very, very broad interest. His ability to fill a novel with small and seemingly unconnected tidbits of information is amazing. To truly appreciate this novel; you need a certain level of understanding about myths, religion and basically almost every topic imaginable.
The true King; the writer who has been doing this for ages is obviously Terry Pratchett but Neil Gaiman definitely succeeds in this too.
What’s so wonderful about this is the amount of layers to discover in the novel; hints to later events, details about the god and its religion. I'm sure I will discover more on a second/third/… read.
Even without all this knowledge you can definitely just sit back and enjoy.

Shadow is endearing. He is gentle, easygoing and not much of a thinker. He is quiet and steady. Basically, he is the perfect protagonist for such a crazy story.
The story is ambiguous. It’s not simply black and white, good versus evil or old against new. It does start out this way but when you read further and think about it, it is not that clear who’s good and who’s bad. Or whether either of them are.
It is certainly a big book but I just didn’t care. It didn’t feel like a big novel, hard work or a never-ending story.
It is energetic, joyful, witty original, new, unique and imaginative. It is dark, engaging, thought provoking and weird in the very best way.
I loved it. One of the parts I enjoyed the most is the part where Shadow moves to the very Stephen King-esque and seemingly idyllic town of Lakeside.

Read it. Just read it.

Happy reading!

 Me time!