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American Gods by Neil Gaiman
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American Gods (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Neil Gaiman, George Guidall (Narrator)

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24,44963344 (4.09)12 / 1144
Member:drudmann
Title:American Gods
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Other authors:George Guidall (Narrator)
Info:HarperAudio (2001), Edition: Unabridged, Audio Cassette
Collections:Your library, eBook
Rating:**
Tags:fiction

Work details

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

Recently added bydomsablos, Keemun, AliceInPains, morro3, MargaretSprague, Robial, private library, bookwormamp, m0usie
  1. 260
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (Anonymous user, moonstormer)
    Anonymous user: It's a great collection all around but the kicker is this collection includes a novella about Shadow a couple years after the events of American Gods
    moonstormer: Fragile Things contains a short story with the same character as is in American Gods. Both are highly recommended.
  2. 232
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (WilliamPascoe)
    WilliamPascoe: Phenominally brilliant fantasy .
  3. 222
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (infiniteletters)
  4. 166
    Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the necessity of belief.
  5. 111
    Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (citygirl)
    citygirl: When the supernatural collides with modern life. One in Moscow, one in the US.
  6. 112
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (klarusu)
    klarusu: The same sense of unreality layered over a real-world setting, the same undercurrent of humour but this time it's the Devil that lands in Moscow
  7. 80
    Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham (sbuehrle)
  8. 81
    Last Call by Tim Powers (grizzly.anderson, MyriadBooks)
    grizzly.anderson: Both are about old world gods making their place in the new world.
    MyriadBooks: For aspiring to win in a bargain with gods.
  9. 93
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  10. 71
    King Rat by China Miéville (Runkst)
  11. 72
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (bertyboy)
    bertyboy: Alternative London for alternative fantasy. Have a go!
  12. 62
    Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones (guyalice)
    guyalice: Neil Gaiman was surprised to discover that the concept of Eight Days of Luke was very similar to what he had initially planned for the plot of American Gods. He dropped the day-theme to avoid too many similarities and gave props to Wynne Jones.
  13. 40
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  14. 107
    The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (WoodsieGirl)
  15. 30
    Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  16. 41
    Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Chricke)
  17. 30
    The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (sturlington)
    sturlington: The Bone Clocks reminded me strongly of Neil Gaiman and David Mitchell has said that Gaiman was an influence.
  18. 30
    Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint (MyriadBooks)
  19. 42
    The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson (rockhopper_penguin)
    rockhopper_penguin: I read these two books one after another. It wasn't a deliberate decision, but the two did seem to work well together. The books visit a few of the same places, and it's interesting to note how differently they are portrayed in each.
  20. 20
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    kqueue: Dark urban fantasies/horror.

(see all 42 recommendations)

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English (614)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (632)
Showing 1-5 of 614 (next | show all)
Dark, gritty and full of suspense, not to mention how fun it was to discover the various gods as Shadow, the main character, weaves his way through a complicated and detailed plot. The full-cast audio version is well worth listening to, and adds a new level of depth to the story. Gaiman, as always, is the master of myth, this time tackling the complicated matter of myth's role in the New World, and providing an interesting theory of how the gods of old might attempt to remain relevant in the modern world. ( )
  WritingHaiku | Jul 28, 2015 |
A very long and complex novel about the coming war between the old (and mostly forgotten) gods and characters of folklore and the new gods of technology. Hard to explain without giving up too much, but if you stick with the read, it's a compelling look at culture, history, and people. ( )
  Randall.Hansen | Jul 18, 2015 |
American Gods is a long and complex book, a book where the reader's interpretation is as important as the story itself. There's a war coming, between the old gods and the new gods of technology. Religion is at the core of this novel, through both history and philosophy. I can't imagine a reader who doesn't have an opinion on that.

I listened to the audio of the 10th anniversary special edition. It's extremely well done, with a cast of readers. I would recommend this version, but with a couple of caveats. First, there are a large number of obscenities, especially in the beginning. It would not be appropriate to listen when small children are near. Secondly, the readers bring their own interpretations to the novel, so the audio can push a reader in a direction he or she might not have gone.

The story is about Shadow, a man who is just coming out of a three year stint in prison which he earned in a barroom fight over his wife, Laura. Circumstances limit Shadow's options and connect him with a strange character who calls himself Wednesday. Through this connection Shadow meets a series of people and gods who are choosing sides. Many odd things happen during the course of Shadow's journey. They can all be explained after some thought. I think this novel is best for people who enjoy that process.

Shadow's story is the main plot of the novel, but Neil Gaiman included a number of back stories of gods and the people who worship them. These seemed out of place at times, because I wasn't ready for a break from Shadow. But they made sense in the long run.

There are references to Christianity in the text, but no more than any other religion. When the god Easter plays a role in the story, this is the pagan Easter from which the Christian holiday took its name. The religions emphasized the most seem to be from Native American traditions.

American Gods is a perfect book to discuss after reading, so it would be a good choice for a book club.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions ( )
  SteveLindahl | Jul 16, 2015 |
4/5 stars
I post all my reviews to athroneofbooks.booklikes.com

This book was an adventure, filled with so much going on at once it took me much longer than the average book to get through. It’s a book riddled with crazy characters, humorous dialogue, and surprises that were well thought out by Gaiman. It’s one of those books where I felt rewarded in the end and I will think about for quite a while after finishing. I think this is one you owe it to yourself to read and love, so I’m not going into much detail in the review. I will however share some of my favorite quotes below because this book had some gems:
 
“You shine like a beacon in a dark world.”
 
“The really dangerous people believe that 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.”
 
Fiction allows us to slip 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. ( )
  MarandaNicole | Jul 15, 2015 |
This is a big book with a lot going on. This book has received many awards ranging in category from horror (The Bram Stoker Award) to Sci-Fi (Nebula) and through to the World Fantasy Awards. That in itself is a fine example of the various genres this book encompasses, so I don’t even know how to begin to summarize it in a few sentences for a review.

It starts off as a simple story of our hero, Shadow, waiting for his release from prison at the end of the week. He is looking forward to seeing his wife and starting his real life again but cannot shake the feeling that there “was a storm coming” and “something bad is going to happen”. Before his day is over both these feelings prove more than prophetic. He is released from prison a few days early because his wife has been killed in a car crash. During his flight home a real storm jostles the plane and his seat partner … we’ll call him Mr. Wednesday … recruits Shadow to be his (for lack of a better word) bodyguard. Mr. Wednesday turns out to be a little more than human and soon Shadow is drawn into a battle between those ancient gods transported to America with their immigrant believers but now mostly forgotten about and the new crop of gods quickly gaining strength through their worshippers (commerce, sex, technology and money).

I enjoyed the premise of the book. I love Mr. Gaiman’s writing. I like the rambling road trip format of the story. Admittedly it was sometimes frustrating to begin to like a location and its populace only to be savagely ripped from there to another location. Definitely makes the reader empathize with Shadow. However, as much as I liked all those things about the book there came a point when all the rambling, which had previously made some sort of sense, totally lost direction for me.

I have to admit that if I had been reading it rather than listening to it on audio I may not have persisted to the last page.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 614 (next | show all)
Neil Gaiman nagyszerű mesélő: a helyszínek megelevenednek, igazi emberek élnek a városkákban (főként Lakeside-ban), megismerünk a szemben álló felet vezető szándékokból is valamennyit. Nincs egyértelmű jó és rossz.
 
This might all sound like a bit much. But Gaiman -- who is best known as the creator of the respected DC Comics ''Sandman'' series -- has a deft hand with the mythologies he tinkers with here; even better, he's a fine, droll storyteller.
 
This is a fantastic novel, as obsessed with the minutiae of life on the road as it is with a catalogue of doomed and half-forgotten deities. In the course of the protagonist Shadow's adventures as the bodyguard and fixer of the one-eyed Mr Wednesday, he visits a famous museum of junk and the motel at the centre of the US, as well as eating more sorts of good and bad diner food than one wants especially to think about.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Independent, Roz Kaveney (Jul 18, 2001)
 
Part of the joy of American Gods is that its inventions all find a place in a well-organised structure. The book runs as precisely as clockwork, but reads as smoothly as silk or warm chocolate.
added by stephmo | editThe Independent, Roz Kaveney (Jul 18, 2001)
 
Gaiman's stories are always overstuffed experiences, and ''American Gods'' has more than enough to earn its redemption, including a hero who deserves further adventures.
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boutsikaris, DennisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SarahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivimäki, MikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLarty, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oreskes, DanielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For absent friends—Kathy Acker and Roger Zelazny, and all points between
First words
Shadow had done three years in prison.
Quotations
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 they 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
There are at least two different editions of this book.   The original was published in 2001, and the tenth anniversary edition (Author's preferred text)  was published in 2011.   Please do not combine.
Please note: the author's name is Neil Gaiman. If this is your book, please put his name in place of "Kindle Edition" and it will combine correctly with other copies of this work. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
The book follows the adventures of ex-convict Shadow, who is released from prison a few days earlier than planned on account of the death of his wife, Laura, in a car accident. Shadow finds work as the escort and bodyguard of the confidence man Mr. Wednesday, and travels across America visiting Wednesday's colleagues and acquaintances. Gradually, it is revealed that Wednesday is an incarnation of Odin the All-Father (the name Wednesday is derived from "Odin's (Woden's) day"), who in his current guise is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods of ancient mythology, whose powers have waned as their believers have decreased in number, to participate in an epic battle against the New American Gods, manifestations of modern life and technology (for example, the Internet, media, and modern means of transport). Laura comes back in the form of a sentient animated corpse due to a special coin Shadow had placed in her coffin, and is instrumental in eliminating several of the New Gods' agents.

AR 5.3, 28 Pts
Haiku summary
New gods, and old ones
All across America
- A storm is coming

(Jannes)
Gods, starving, lose faith;
Easy marks for Odin's scheme.
Shadow holds his breath.

(one-horse.library)
Shadow, with help from
wife, finds fickle gods and beats
them at their own game.
(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060558121, Paperback)

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 18:16:03 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Just released from prison, Shadow encounters Mr. Wednesday, an enigmatic stranger who seems to know a lot about him, and when Mr. Wednesday offers him a job as his bodyguard, Shadow accepts and is plunged into a dark and perilous world.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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