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American Gods: The Author's Preferred Text…

American Gods: The Author's Preferred Text

by Neil Gaiman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: American Gods (Expanded Version)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,0071421,822 (4.1)9
  1. 30
    Neverwhere: The Author's Preferred Text by Neil Gaiman (HoudeRat)
  2. 20
    Sandman 10 Volume Slipcase Set by Neil Gaiman (HoudeRat)
  3. 10
    The Absolute Sandman Volume One by Neil Gaiman (zapzap)
  4. 00
    The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis (charlie68)
    charlie68: Some common themes
  5. 00
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: Both works have elements of religion and belief. They are both mystical in very different ways.
  6. 00
    11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: Both novels are epic. They both have elements of time travel and a sense that one's actions can lead to unintended consequences.

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» See also 9 mentions

English (138)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All languages (142)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
This is an exceptional tale and the idea of this tale, might even be better than the tale itself. Yet, it’s still a masterfully-written, wonderful book, which tells you just how fantastic a concept it is. It was published in 2001 and won the 2002 Hugo and Nebula (and yes, I’m just now reading it). I read the ten-year anniversary edition with the extra 12,000 words.

Compared to Europe, America has no mythology and hardly a history. Norse mythology can be traced back to the 13th century. Sources for Irish Folklore have been dated to the 11th or 12th century, but oral history might be as old as the 6th century. Greek myths date all the way back to 18th century B.C. The central theme of American Gods is that while Europe has old, strong, powerful gods, America is not a good land for gods. Yes, immigrants brought their beliefs with them and, in a sense, created weak incantations of the European gods. You see in Gaiman’s universe, a facsimile of a European god could exist simply due to the beliefs of settlers. This backdrop allows Gaiman to create a rich story of god and god-like characters that exist solely due to worship and idolization, whether that be an incarnation of an ancient god such as Oden, or the create of a new god, such as media or technology.

The plot is that a small group of new gods (technology boy, media, and the intangibles – modern stock market worship), along with the help of Black Hats, sort of government thugs, are plotting to overthrow the old gods, who are becoming ever weaker due to fading beliefs. Our protagonist is Shadow Moon, an ex-con, who is hired by an old god, mysteriously named, “Mr. Wednesday”. Mr. Wednesday assisted by Shadow is journeying across the country to gather support of the old gods for an impending battle against the new gods. This plot allows Gaiman to explore the county and provides rich locations from “The House On the Rock” in Wisconsin, to Las Vegas, to the meatpacking yards of Chicago, and to Rock City (See Rock City!).

While Gaiman’s appreciation of the new world shows through, especially in small town America, he by no means pulls any punches concerning the vices, corruption, and depravity of America. Shadow spends time in a small Wisconsin town, which Gaiman lovingly describes, but underneath there are dark forces at work, even in this simple place. He explores the historical horrors of slavery, native American atrocities, the sex trade, as well as the modern greed and gluttony of Las Vegas and the Stock Market. I was surprised that Gaiman missed our Sports worship, as this would have made another excellent and interesting new god. So, this is no whitewashed love letter of America, but I still took away a sense of appreciation of small-town America and the amazing blend of cultures in the United States.

The journey though America and the interaction with the supernatural allowed Gaiman to fully display his mastery of language. At times the prose is almost lyrical or poetic. At others it’s purposely pedestrian and workmanlike, which creates a differentiation between the ordinary events and the mystical occurrences.

I knew this book was good, based on its awards and reputation which often leads to high expectations and disappointment for me. Well, not in this case. I enjoyed it, I admired it, and I respected it. It deserves all the awards and acclaim it received, imho. I read that Gaiman actually toured the U.S. while writing this book and that makes it even more epic. America may not have as rich, long, or complex lore, mythology, or legend as Europe, but Gaiman adds a bit to our nation’s tale. Ultimately, it’s an amazingly inventive and masterful story. ( )
1 vote Kevin_A_Kuhn | Dec 10, 2018 |
I love this book. Now it has an additional 12,000 words added in? Awesome. This book is one of my favorite books in the world, and I force everyone to read it. It's one of the best things in my Library. ( )
  wodenthewanderer | Aug 14, 2018 |
I read American Gods once and became good at USA geography

Man, I nearly gave this book only 3 stars. I was simply enjoying the fun roadtrip and then visiting Gods and hearing them rant about how hard their lives were, so going through the chapter where Shadow decides he'll sacrifice himself and gets tied up was a drag and totally uninteresting to me. The revelation of his connection to Wednesday amused me less than it should've. Luckily for me, Shadow returns to Lakeside later and uncovers the mystery surrounding the missing kids and that was enough to get me back into the story again.

Oh yeah, when Easter gets introduced I remembered the reason I finally decided to pick this up was because I watched the TV series. They are quite different from each other, but I think I like some things the TV series did more. The TV adaptation made Laura less forgettable and Mad Sweeney, a character that entertains me a lot, shows up a lot more often.

Plus, it has Cool Jesus
( )
  protoplasm | Jul 28, 2018 |
A great way to spend a few afternoons. Great writing and some deep themes with a mystery at the core. ( )
  charlie68 | Mar 31, 2018 |
On its surface this book might be a road trip through most of America, a bit of a mystery, maybe some romance tossed into the mix....but mostly it's about this conglomerate of country we have created, all the beliefs and myths we brought with us from around the world, and how that hodgepodge of characters interact with each other, plus as times moves on how they are losing ground, and what we are worshipping and giving power to now in their stead. ( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SarahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, Greek-Americans the vryókolas, but only in relation to events remembered in the Old Country. When I once asked why such demons were not seen in America, my informants giggled confusedly and said, "They're scared to pass the ocean, it's too far," pointing out that Christ and the apostles never came to America.

--Richard Dorson, "A Theory For American Folklore", American Folklore and the Historian
The boundaries of our country sir? Why sir, on the north we are bounded by the Aurora Borealis, on the east we are bounded by the rising sun, on the south we are bounded by the procession of the Equinoxes, and on the west by the Day of Judgement
-The American Joe Miller's Jest Book
They took her to the cemet'ry
In a big ol' cadillac
They took her to the cemet'ry
But they did not bring her back.
-old song
For absent friends--Kathy Acker and Roger Zelazny, and all points between
First words
Shadow had done three years in prison.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
"A town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but without a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul."
When people came to America they brought us with them. They brought me, and Loki, and Thor, Anansi and the Lion-God, Leprechauns and Kobalds and Banshees, Kubera and Frau Holle and Ashtaroth, and the brought you. We rode here in their minds, and we took root. We travelled with the settlers to the new lands across the ocean.
The land is vast. Soon enough, our people abandoned us, remembered us only as creatures of the old land, as things that had not come with them to the new. Our true believers passed on, or stopped believing, and we were left, lost and scared and dispossessed, only what little smidgens of worship or belief we could find. And to get by as best we could.
'So that's what we've done, gotten by, out on the edges of things, where no-one was watching us too closely.'
Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.
All we have to believe with is our senses, the tools we use to perceive the world: our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted. And even if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.
There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.
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The first edition of this title was published in 2001. The 10th anniversary edition with the author's preferred text, is an expanded edition published in 2011. Please do not combine.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0062059882, Hardcover)

American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.

Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.

Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.

More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -0400)

After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break... Disturbing, gripping and profoundly strange, Gaiman's epic new novel sees him on the road to the heart of America.… (more)

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