Book Discussion: American Gods Chapters 5-8
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More of the same.
I will admit I enjoyed Shadow's conversation with Lucy Ricardo, though. ;o) And I do like Ibis and Jacquel and the line of work they have chosen.
Randomly, I read this book without even knowing about this group.
And I do have to say. Because of this book, I will never look at Lucy Ricardo in the same way anymore. XD
Welcome, bookmasterjmv! I'll bet you'll never look at Lucy the same. I would have a hard time watching The Dick Van Dyke show, I think... if I still watched it, that is. ;o)
The conversation with Lucy did make me laugh. I;m not sure I'll ever be able to watch that show with a straight face again. Everytime it comes on I'll see the line from the book in my head :P
Ibis and Jacquel are very cool characters, and the line of work you find them in suits them very well. I think out of everyone we meet they seem the most human.
The Dick Van Dyke show reference made me very uncomfortable. I guess there was a purpose, but I sure can't figure it out. Maybe as I continue to read, it will come clear. (I haven't finished chapter 8 just yet.) The Lucy Ricardo scene, however, I enjoyed. I could imagine her face as she said all of those lines. And you're right - that one line is going to stick in my mind for a long time!
I wonder if any more of our modern gods are going to be depicted in the novel and how they will be presented. (Of course, it is entirely possible that Gaiman has already done that and I failed to see it. I'm not having the easiest time following this book.)
I was wondering if the Dick Van Dyke thing was more of a memory of Shadow's childhood, with Rob and Laura playing his own folks.
Oh, clam, that makes a lot of sense.
I was also wondering about the more modern gods - Mr. Wednesday makes a passing reference to Jesus stealing Mithros's birthday, but almost all of the other gods we've scene are from pantheistic religions, or are not really "gods" but are sprites/imps/djinns, etc. Any thoughts as to why? Do pantheistic gods just have more personality?
Also, (I'm listening to the audiobook)... is Shadow's cellmate's name spelled Low Key? I love audiobooks, but sometimes wordplay fails... for example, the narrator pronounced "Cairo" the Illinois way right the first time, making the whole paragraph about pronounciation pointless. Although, if I were reading, I probably would have read it that way in my head... I know folks from Cairo. Come to that, I wonder how much of my perception of this book is colored by the fact that they're wandering around my neck of the woods, and that I've actually been to a lot of the places they describe/mention.
I like that too, clam. I had not thought of that.
Yes, the cellmate's name is Low Key. Call me slow, but until I read your post, fyrefly, I hadn't made the connection between Low Key and Loki. There must be a reason for that. Hopefully, I haven't missed it.
Well, I totally missed the Low Key/Loki thing until you just mentioned it, hobbitprincess.
I'm still wondering who Shadow is...
I only 150 pages left to go!
It hasn't spoiled anything for me, maybe because I am pretty confused at this point -
Still reading . . .
It's the second time I read this book and I still hadn't got the Loki reference... could be because in swedish his name is Loke and pronounced in a different way.
But thinking of it, a bell's ringing - maybe I got it later on in my first read? Don't remember!
Anyway, calling Oden (or Odin, as you may think of him) Wednesday is kind of a nice pun to me, as the weekday wednesday is called "onsdag" (Odens day) in swedish.
Yes, it's from Woden's Day. I guess he used to be Woden in Old English.
Oh, and Busifer, you just made our 2000th post!!!!
*lights off fireworks*
That was NOT intentional, but I'll join in on the fireworks and cheers!
(And I think Odin often is called Wotan in northern Germany...)
I find it fascinating that he also 'died on a tree,' don't you? I wonder how many gods in religious mythology have died or been sacrificed that way?
As for me, I was glad Jesus and Yaweh didn't show up in American Gods. But I was really surpised not to see Gaia. Also, there is NO WAY that pagan waitress in San Francisco would not have known who Easter/Ostara was. No way...
Maybe I'm too familiar with Oden to be fascinated? In Sweden the pagan gods are considered part of our cultural heritage and we learn about them in school. That they're often referred to as "norse" also feels weird, as we grow up to think of them as "swedish" (or common Scandinavian) in origin :-)
This "dying on a tree" is sometimes seen as a parallell to the crucifixion (of Jesus), but I thnk I've read somwhere that Odens' dying has pre-christian roots...
I found this on Wikipedia, by the way (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odin) -
"Gandalf, a powerful wizard in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, is largely based on Odin in his incarnation as "the Wanderer", an old man with one eye, a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff. Tolkien states that he thinks of Gandalf as an "Odinic wanderer" in a letter of 1946 (Letters no. 107)."
Oh, yeah, I know Odin/Woden predates Jesus, but I can't find out when his cult first began.
Here in the US we pay a lot more attention to Greek and Roman mythology, for some reason. Despite the fact that most of the Founding Fathers were Anglo-Saxons. I assume that's because the Classical Tradition is what's taught in most schools.
...which brings up something I was wondering. Where was the Greek pantheon in the book? It seems like that would be a good source of interesting characters, but were most of their roles taken up by other gods? I guess not a lot of Greek pantheists wound up in America, but if he's postulating Egyptian gods, Greek isn't any more farfetched.
Maybe I just noticed the absence because I was brought up with the Greek US tradition like you said, clam.
Maybe Gaiman wanted to weave his story around gods everyone links with "prehistoric" or "really ancient", to show that Columbus wasn't the first to cross the Atlantic? Or is that too farfetched?
Ibis says somwhere that the egyptians came over 3500 yrs ago or something like that, and thats almost true for some of the others as well... Or at least they came more than 400 years ago.
Meanwhile, everyone is expected to know of the Greeks and it would be hard to spin a convincing story around them. I imagine the result as being somewhat bordering on comedy - "what if Zeus was american"...?!
BTW, when the europeans claimed north america from those poor bastards that already lived there the dominant trend was pro-greek and romantic, as I remember it - they looked at the ancient greeks as the model and hight of the civilisation. So it was in Sweden/Scandinavia as well but in the 1880's (OK, around that time, as usual I don't remember exactly) we had a patriotic trend which included the redefinition of swedishness (from something predominatly french to something nominally "swedish"), and since then we are kind of proud of our pagan gods.
And on the Oden-matter - a lot of people argue that even if Oden as such predates Christianity a lot of the stories about him could very well have been inspired by tales bout Jesus. Paganism and christianity coexisted here for a long time, and certain elements of the pagan or folklore got incorporated or accepted by the Christians.
if the waitress was just one of the "New Agers" that have popped up out of the wood work, then there would be a very good chance that she wouldn't have known. Alot of them have the book knowledge or a very basic idea of things but other than that not alot else.
Rune, I realized after I made my post that the waitress was probably just a kid. So yeah, you're right. Anyone can call themselves a pagan.
A few weeks ago, I was surfing around and found a piece about the common misconceptions people have about pagans. It was very interesting. Considering that, I can certainly see where the waitress, no matter how old she is, would be uninformed.
Argh, I wrote a huge post and lost it.
Basically, as a Pagan, I'm digging this book.
They picked lesser known divinities because someone like Zeus would kick New Age booty.
It reminds me in some ways of Jitterbug Perfume.
Does a god of books show up anywhere? How about an internet djinn for LibraryThing? 112,146 believers and converting!
This book is still keeping my interest, even though it doesn't seem like anything's really happened. It's like Gaiman is still setting the stage for something to happen.
I'm a little thick! :op
I have a dog named Loki and I didn't pick up on Low Key. It makes sense now though, he was the first one to mention the storm coming.
I agree, Jacquel and Ibis are quite interesting. But, so far, none of the gods has been really likeable. It's hard to form a positive/negative impression of any of them and I think this is because Shadow doesn't show any emotion about any of them, except that he tells Wednesday at the beginning that he doesn't like him and tried to avoid him at first. Makes me realize that we tend to look to the protagonist to tell us how we should feel about the rest of the characters. No reaction even to his night with Bast!
I doubt I would have picked up on it either had I been reading a paper copy. But in the audiobook they're SO similar...
No time to read this thread, but I want to, so leaving this post here. :)
Some thoughts, although it has really been too long since I read it, and I don't want to read it again.
I like that the gods were rather flat and one didn't really want to root for them. Gods are kind of like that. Unpredictable, uninvolved and self-absorbed, unless for some reason you interest them, and then you had better watch out! I think Pratchett's take on gods is very close to mine. :) Or mine to his, not sure.
I'm thinking that these gods were chosen because so many of the major gods in Greek and Roman worlds are well known and very like one another. Also, Gaiman was influenced by many of the British writers who were interested in the Norse/Northern gods like Tolkien, Chesterton and others.
Can't for the life of me remember the Dick Van Dyke or Lucille Ball references, so I may have to find those and read them again. On the other hand, maybe my brain deleted them for a reason.
Reading these threads is very nostalgic. So many members who don't participate much anymore. :(
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