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American Gods (American Gods #1)

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4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  391,979 Ratings  ·  18,733 Reviews
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 s
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Paperback, the author's preferred text, 635 pages
Published March 4th 2005 by Headline Review (first published July 2001)
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Vintage274 Sam says herself that she dreams she was a shaman with a shriveled arm in her past life. She is Atsula the holy woman of the matriarchal tribe that…moreSam says herself that she dreams she was a shaman with a shriveled arm in her past life. She is Atsula the holy woman of the matriarchal tribe that emigrates across the Bering Strait to America and is sacrificed at the foot of the mountain. Shadow cannot be seen when he gives her the flowers. He's a "shadowy" observer.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alex Short answer: Redemption and closure.

Long answer: Throughout the novel, there was a theme of redemption and paying your debts. Laura committed the…more
Short answer: Redemption and closure.

Long answer: Throughout the novel, there was a theme of redemption and paying your debts. Laura committed the moral crime of infidelity while Shadow was incarcerated. You could say she was given the ultimate punishment for committing her sin.

As a reanimated being, she was given a second chance at making it up to Shadow. She gained redemption by assisting Shadow in his journey. When she killed Loki/Mr. World, she completed her own journey of redemption. Now that her purpose has been fulfilled, Shadow forgave her and allowed her to go back to resting in peace, permanently.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Monroe
Anybody who tells you that the book is about old and new gods, or about a man named Shadow, or about coin tricks, or about having one's head smashed in for losing a game of checkers, is selling you a line, because those are just details, not the story itself.

Much like any Neil Gaiman story, the devil is in the details, and you just have to resolve yourself to coming along for the ride or you'll miss it. It's not one story, or two, it's many, and it's all complete...and you have to just read it,
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Stacey
In 2003, I walked away from my childhood religion – a high control (some would say abusive) group with a tiny little worldview and a severe superiority complex.

This was my reality:











I believed with all my being that the things depicted above were real, and were just over the event horizon.

Leaving meant losing almost every friend I had ever made since childhood, it created a rift with my still devout family, and quite possibly saved my life.

Is it any wonder that fiction – alternate realities, fa
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Nataliya
Neil Gaiman must have British gonads of titanium to write a huge sprawling epic story about the nature of American belief. It's a gamble that worked perfectly - since, as he said, "Nobody's American [...] Not originally. That's my point."


"It's a god-eat-god world." This quote by Sir Terry Pratchett, another amazing British writer, perfectly summarizes the surface plot of the intimidating bulk of American Gods.

"It's what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their
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Meg ♥
This is a tough review for me to write. I'm not exactly sure what it is about this book that I don't like. I'm not sure there even IS something I don't like. Since I don't want to just leave you all with the ever popular "I'm just not that into it", I will try to explain.

This book has all the elements of a book I would enjoy. The creepiness factor is up there, the writing is brilliant, the main character is a big lug I couldn't help but love. Also, I have always been fascinated by mythology, so
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Patrick
Jan 08, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Whenever we have a cold snap here in Wisconsin, I find myself thinking about one of my favorite pieces of American Gods.

I remember reading it back in 2002 or so. This was back in the day. Back when it was a bit of a secret that Gaiman lived in Wisconsin.

I read the following section of the book nodding to myself, thinking, "Yup, that's exactly what it's like."

Then I had another thought: "I bet this comes from that really bad cold snap we had here in Wisconsin about six years ago."

It was prett
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Oceana2602
Nov 22, 2008 Oceana2602 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Read Gaiman!" they say. "I can't believe you've never read Gaiman! You have GOT TO read Gaiman!" "Gaiman is SUCH an important part of popular culture and one of the BEST contemporary writers! You HAVE TO READ GAIMAN!"

Well, I've read Gaiman now.

Hi Gaiman!
Bye Gaiman!


Let me quote:
"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."

I agree with everything but the beginning a
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Stephen
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My literary promiscuity being what it is, I have read and loved a lot of novels in many different genres. However, among the beau coup books that I have loved long time there are a select few that hold a special, hallowed place in my pantheon of favorites…American Gods is one of these elite.

Gaiman’s writing is both subdued and poetic. It is deeply emotional, but without a hint of melodrama. His descriptions are elaborate yet not drawn out. He tells a huge, complex, eternal story, one small tal
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David Katzman
Sep 26, 2012 David Katzman rated it did not like it
I find myself shocked at the awards this book has won and the praise heaped upon it. How on Gods’ Earth could a book about Gods walking on the Earth among mortals be so pedestrian? Somehow Gaiman managed to turn a potentially cool premise into something boring. For those who love this book—and I know it is many—please forgive the sarcasm to follow as I blaspheme against the beloved Gaiman. But Gods help me, the more I read, the more I hated American Gods.

First off, while the premise sounds inter
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Bill  Kerwin
Jan 11, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

In this unique love letter to the United States, Gaiman manages to celebrate its underground spiritual traditions, glory in the magnificence of its landmarks, landscapes, and bizarre tourist traps, and--most important--both mourn and venerate its pagan (often immigrant) gods in decline, battered and diminished though they may be by the shallowness and speed of a technological world. The gods are indeed the best part of this very good book: they are degenerate and threadbare, and yet still gods,
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Bookworm Sean
Sep 11, 2015 Bookworm Sean rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: my enemies
Shelves: fantasy, i-hate-you
Do you ever read a book and become completely lost in the words and, ultimately, wonder what is actually happening? Well, I do. So, I go back and read the bits I may not have picked up or accidently skimmed over. This allows me to actually understand the book. I tried doing that with this, and I quickly realised that I still had no idea what was going on. The plot of this felt completely random, drawn out to the point of ridiculousness and the events, themselves, felt incoherent. I have no idea ...more
Dan
Oct 23, 2007 Dan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: americans, gods, and everyone inbetween
This book (in a very round about way) taught me what good literature is. My mother was telling me about this book, and commented that it is good literature. Now, I was surprised to hear this because Neil Gaiman is usually a nonstop sex and violence party of disaffected goth teenager fantasy. Furthermore, I didn't really believe in good literature. I had had so much obvious bull-plop literary analysis crammed down my throat in high school (A high school teacher once said to our class "In the Grea ...more
mark monday
Feb 07, 2012 mark monday rated it really liked it
a protagonist, Shadow. calm, collected, quiet, passive, cagey, a tough guy and a sensitive guy. his life has been about reacting and not impacting. he moves through his story as if through a dream; tragedies and betrayals and mysteries and confidence games, the beginnings and endings of hope and love and life - all viewed as if through water, as if these terrible wonders were happening to someone else. he could be nothing more than a pawn in life - let alone a pawn of the gods - but yet his pass ...more
Warwick
I find it really weird how many American media products have the word "American" in the title. Obviously, this; a few weeks back I also read American Rust. You've got your American Beauty, American Ninja, An American Werewolf in London. American Psycho. American Sniper. American Pie, American Dad, American Graffiti. What is going on here, what are they trying to prove?? I really don't understand it. I mean you'd never get "British Beauty", "French Psycho", would you? That just seems completely l ...more
Kelly
Here's my new review of this, up on the B&N fantasy blog: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sc...

Yay!!
Kat Kennedy
A man was swallowed by a woman's vagina - so my mom wrote me a note and now I don't have to review this book anymore.
♛Tash
For a confused minute (or a week really if I can be truly honest with myself), I tried typing power overwhelming using my Kindle Paperwhite. Now kids, power overwhelming is a Star Craft cheat that made ones' troops god-like or invincible. I wanted god-like powers so I'd have the power to read through and like American Gods, but alas, I am only human and cannot smite Neil Gaiman for my disappointment.

I have to hand it to Neil Gaiman for coming up with this fantastic concept, a Battle Royale betwe
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Trevor
Dec 03, 2013 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, religion
I did like this, I liked this very much.

This was on my to read list and given I’ve never heard of the guy before it must have been recommended to me by someone. No idea who, though. It is a little surprising that when I looked no one I knew had reviewed this book. What had inspired me to read it is lost now.

A friend of mine wrote to me last week about her son’s interest in magic tricks – now, that must be the first time in years that I’ve thought about magic at all. So, when this one started and
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Wade
Aug 29, 2007 Wade rated it it was amazing
i'm a graduate student in theology, so how can i not love this book?
this book is one of the most creative descriptions of my own understanding of theology. gods do not exist on some eternal plane, but they rise and fall with the cultures and peoples who support and worship them. these gods have avatars in many different places--they are not a single entity but many that are called by the same name. mythologies can be more true than reality. and it's a good warning about how careful we should be
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Inge
DNF 26%

I tried, okay? I genuinely want to like Neil Gaiman. I want to fall in love with his stories, and be enchanted, and all things wonderful. But this book is not going to do that for me. It was weird - stories about eating tiger balls and man-eating vaginas, I cannot deal with.

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Lyn
Aug 19, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing
American Gods by Neil Gaiman, by the author’s own description, is a work that has inspired strong emotions and little in between – readers have either liked it a lot, or loathed it entirely.

Reading some of the reviews bears witness to this dichotomy. I liked it, liked it a lot, but I can also understand why someone may dislike the work. Gaiman, in his storyteller way, has stepped over boundaries and stepped on toes. And not just religious or theological ideas, but nationalistic ideals as well.
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Kay
This book turned me over completely to Neil Gaiman and made me drooly and ga-ga for his writing like a Twilight fangirl on too much fairy dust. I've read a few of Gaiman's works before (The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, Neverwhere, Anansi Boys, and Stardust), but none have blown me so completely out of the boiling seas like American Gods.

American Gods is one of the quirkiest books on American culture and belief that I've read. Told from the perspective of a particularly insightful non
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julio
Jan 05, 2016 julio added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
after a number of days on the #StruggleBus, i'm setting this aside.

for now, anyway.

it seems awfully preoccupied with man-eating vaginas and fatal, blowjob-related vehicular mishaps and post-mortem conjugal visitation.

by a lady zombie.

in other words, stuff het teenaged boys find super-exciting?

...not so much for an adult homosexual at war with a malignant narcissist with horrendous taste in gifs and/or his own soul-sucking holiday despair.
Huda Yahya

إن كنت مهتما بالأساطير والخرافات والأديان القديمة
والروايات الحديثة السريعة الإيقاع
فإنك ستحب هذه الرواية


"If you are to survive, you must believe."
"Believe what?" asked Shadow. "What should I believe?"
He stared at Shadow, the buffalo man, and he drew himself up huge, and his eyes filled with fire. He opened his spit-flecked buffalo mouth and it was red inside with the flames that burned inside him, under the earth.
"Everything," roared the buffalo man!


::::::::::::::

هي ملحمة خرافية عن الآلهة
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Anne
High 3.5 maybe 4 stars?
I can't say this is one I would recommend to everyone, and I certainly won't be shoving it down people's throats.
But I liked it.
Now, somehow I ended up with the extended 10 year anniversary edition. So, maybe that's why it took me forever to finish this. But I don't think that was entirely the issue. It's just a loooong fuckin' book. And not much happens in it action-wise, so you're not exactly flipping the pages with any intensity.
There's not even really (in my opinion)
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Maxwell
In the preface of this edition of American Gods which is the Author's Preferred Text for the 10th anniversary, Neil Gaiman says that much of what is included in this version was cut for the original publication. He says it wanders more, but he wanted to include them anyway. I found that to be a poor decision. I felt that much of the book was filler, and while entertaining on its own, added very little to the core of the story.

"What is the core of the story?" you ask. We follow a man convenientl
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Sue
An incredible adventure!

The American Gods/gods, like the many peoples they accompanied, arrived on this continent over the past hundreds, thousands of years. And like average people, these gods assimilated in ways large and small into their environment, some losing parts of themselves, some holding on to traces of past glory in different ways and forms. As the people assimilated their beliefs often weakened too affecting their old gods.

But change has come. Major change in the form of new belief
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Franco  Santos
Dec 17, 2015 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro como sólo Neil Gaiman sabe escribir. Tiene esa fantasía tan peculiar del autor, en su expresión más fina. Una combinación de magia divina con la característica tétrica y umbría de este gran escritor.

description

Es una de las novelas más extrañas y hasta bizarras que leí. Tiene partes que son, en mi opinión, graciosas de lo ridículo de su desarrollo. Otras me resultaron un poco pesadas, como los interludios. Éstos a muchos les encantó; a mí me aburrieron todos. Otro aspecto negativo que tengo que re
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Nandakishore Varma
Feb 06, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This was the first book by Gaiman I read, and I instantly became a fan.

Gaiman is a "love-him-or-hate-him" author: either you will die for his prose, or you will be prepared to engage commandos to kill him. I think the reason for this extreme reaction is the way he writes his stories. It can be called fantasy, but actually it's closer to myth with its rambling style and narrative inconsistencies.

"American Gods" is the tale of Shadow and his part in the struggle between the traditional Gods from a
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Vladimir
Nov 21, 2015 Vladimir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-read, 2015
Kao što rekoh, puno praznog hoda, maratonsko putovanje sa jednog na drugi kraj Amerike gde se u pauzama desi po neka zanimljiva stvar. Ustvari, najzanimljiviji delovi su mi bili oni koji su se dešavali daleko u prošlosti gde je opisivano kako su bogovi "naseljavali" ovaj kontinent. No ova poglavlja su bila poprilično kratka.

Završnica, ništa WOW već samo OK.

Jedna mršava trojka.
Crystal Craig

Recommended Reading

"There was a human being who was born, lived, and then, by some means or other, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life."

I began this book about a year ago and couldn't get into it, this time around it was quite the opposite. Strange how our mood plays a vital part in which books we choose to read.

I've been a fan of Neil Gaiman since reading his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane (whi
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“I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not.

I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen - I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.

I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.

I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.

I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds.

I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman.

I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.

I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.

I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too.

I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.

I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
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“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.” 4146 likes
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