Karl Orbell's Reviews > American Gods

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Aug 13, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 13 to August 13, 2012

Having read two Neil Gaiman novels previously, Good Omens and Neverwhere, I went in to reading this mammoth book thinking, this should be good, no idea what it's actually about, but he can't write anything that isn't excellent. By the time I was about a quarter of the way in to the book, I had purchased most of his novels that remained to me and was already looking forward to them.

This book is very thought provoking and intense, it made me happy, sad, laugh on the train, stop reading and stare out of the window, contemplating. It deals with the issue of belief, how it comes to be, how it changes, how it is carried through time and geography. For such a work of total fantasy, where gods walk amongst men, death is an unstable concept and the real world is just a stage; it feels very plausible, in an odd way. I remember feeling like that with Neverwhere, total fantasy, but with scarcely a need to engage your suspension of disbelief. That is down to his skill as a writer, particularly at drawing tangible characters and not straying the background too far from reality.

The main character, Shadow, endures so much, but is so stoic, it would normally not come off properly and feel like a parody of a strong, silent type; but not here. Shadow, despite not saying too much, does carry the mood of the book; the calm before the storm. The human relationships, friend, family, or lover, are spot on and numerous. A primary love story between Shadow and his wife, Laura, is particularly touching, despite being pretty messed up.

One of the things I loved about Neverwhere, was that it was set in London, and I am a Londoner, so enjoyed the references and familiarity immensely. So I was a bit worried with American Gods, that I would not get as much from it and be hit and miss with the references. When it came to it, I found it did not matter much, it is packed with references to America, but he manages to impart any lost knowledge on the insights. So by the end, you have just gained a deeper view in to another culture.

A superb book, he takes his time and researches them, so he has not written many. May he live long, so I have more books of this quality to read.
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Reading Progress

07/12 page 3
07/25 page 251
39.0% "Part 2..."
07/30 page 345
54.0% "Coming To America..."
07/08 marked as: read
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