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American Gods (American Gods, #1) by Neil…
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American Gods (American Gods, #1) (original 2001; edition 2005)

by Neil Gaiman

Series: American Gods (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
31,76688571 (4.07)12 / 1490
Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever he the same.… (more)
Member:Avonelle
Title:American Gods (American Gods, #1)
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:Headline Review, Paperback, 635 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work Information

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

  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. 263
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (WilliamPascoe)
    WilliamPascoe: Phenominally brilliant fantasy .
  3. 233
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (infiniteletters)
  4. 177
    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. 100
    Fables, Vol. 01: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham (sbuehrle)
  7. 102
    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
  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. 72
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (bertyboy)
    bertyboy: Alternative London for alternative fantasy. Have a go!
  10. 50
    The Wood Wife by Terri Windling (Larkken)
  11. 94
    The Stand by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
  12. 61
    King Rat by China Miéville (Runkst)
  13. 127
    The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (WoodsieGirl)
  14. 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.
  15. 52
    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.
  16. 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.
  17. 41
    Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Chricke)
  18. 52
    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (andomck)
    andomck: Religion, realism, fantasy, humor, low brow, etc. Makes sense to me.
  19. 30
    Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  20. 30
    Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint (MyriadBooks)

(see all 47 recommendations)

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English (854)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (877)
Showing 1-5 of 854 (next | show all)
This was the first and only of a quarantine-inspired book club, and I was the first and only person to finish reading it, which is too bad because it was amazing and I wish I could have talked about it with someone. ( )
  graceandbenji | Sep 1, 2022 |
One of the best books I've read this year. ( )
  cuiomae | Aug 26, 2022 |
At first I was disappointed but then Shadow got tied up to a tree and the book got better and better.

This book is different from what I am used to when I read Gaiman. This one is more realistic (as realistic as a book about gods can get) and less magical. This made me feel like I was reading another author but near the ending it was the Neil Gaiman I know. Full of surprises.

This book is about immigrants, war and the old vs new. Shadow was a great main character since he was an excellent oberver (even though I found him boring at first, I loved him in the end). I also loved Laura, which surprised because of what we know she did in the beginning of the book. That didn't define her as a person. She had so much more to her and that is what I love about Neil Gaiman's characters. Everyone has flaws, but you can still love them - just like real people.

Another character I ended up really liking was Anansi and I never heard of him before. Besides norse, greek and egyptian mythology I don't know much about gods. But now I have this list (http://www.frowl.org/gods/gods.html) to help me when I read this book a second time because it is one of those that you need to reread to fully understand. ( )
  elderlingfae | Aug 11, 2022 |
Abandoned - Not rating this or marking it as a "read" because I gave up on it before I had reached the 1/3 mark. I enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane, so I thought I might like this as well. No reflection on my Gaiman's writing skills, but I hated it almost immediately. It is not the kind of book I enjoy and with my overwhelming TBR list, I thought it ridiculous to push myself through it.

It made me think of Stephen King, another writer who is beloved by almost everyone but holds no charms for me. Back to Willa Cather and Edith Wharton for me...they are sitting on the bedside table whispering my name.
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
An interesting premise with interesting characters for sure. Gaiman's writing style is on par with something like "The Sandman Series" where you feel like you're in a world where you are seeing what's mostly happening but there are a lot of other tales that could be told to flesh out the universe a bit more. Not to say this book is short by any means. Shadow and Wednesday are very interesting and the supporting characters are fun. You may come away with a different favorite then other people. Even Gaiman has a favorite but I can't really understand why (Easter is his FYI).

Don't expect a ton of explanation or revelation, even towards the end. There are many loose threads that you do not find the answer to. Sometimes, I'm completely fine with that as it allow me to come up with my own theories. This books may have a bit too many for me. For example, an unnecessary and unexplained gay Genie sex scene that comes from left field and leaves in the same exact manner.

I was expecting a lot more of an ending but it seemed just to kind of peter out and a loss of epicness that had been building up seemed to just shrug it shoulders and skip out on itself.

Overall, a decent book that was fun to read with a few hiccups. Pretty much a standard for Gaiman's writing. Final Grade - B ( )
  agentx216 | Aug 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 854 (next | show all)
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.
 
"American Gods" is a juicily original melding of archaic myth with the slangy, gritty, melancholy voice of one of America's great cultural inventions -- the hard-boiled detective; call it Wagnerian noir. The melting pot has produced stranger cocktails, but few that are as tasty.
added by stephmo | editSalon.com, Laura Miller (Jun 22, 2001)
 
Sadly, American Gods promises more than it delivers. The premise is brilliant; the execution is vague, pedestrian and deeply disappointing. It's not bad, but it's not nearly as good as it could be. There are wonderful moments, but they are few and far between. This should be a massive, complex story, a clash of the old world and the new, a real opportunity to examine what drives America and what it lacks. Instead, it is an enjoyable stroll across a big country, populated by an entertaining sequence of "spot the god" contests.
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, Neilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boutsikaris, DennisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SarahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivimäki, MikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary 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
                           (University of Chicago Press, 1971)
CHAPTER ONE
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
CHAPTER TWO
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.
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever he the same.

No library descriptions found.

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)

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