Darga's Reviews > American Gods

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Mar 08, 08

bookshelves: favorites
Recommended for: quiet thinkers, and people who are stalled out, or need a change.

"one describes a tale best by telling the tale. you see? the way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. it is a balancing act and it is a dream. the more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. the most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless."

"you know" says the man in the light gray suit, when his drink arrives, "the finest line of poetry ever uttered in the history of this whole damn country was said by canada bill jones in 1853, in baton rouge, while he was being robbed blind in a crooked game of faro. george devol, who was, like canada bill, not a man who was averse to fleecing the odd sucker, drew bill aside and asked him if he couldn't see that the game was crooked. and canada bill sighed, and shrugged his shoulders, and said 'i know, but it's the only game in town.' and then he went back to the game."

"you got to understand the god thing. it's not magic. it's about being you, but the you that people belive in. it's about being the concentrated, magnified, essense of you. it's about becoming thunder, or the power of a running horse, or wisdom. you take all the belief and become bigger, cooler, more than human. you crystallize." he paused. "and then one day they forget about you, and they don't believe in you, and the next thing you know you're running a three-card monte game on the corner of broadway and third."

ok this is a very quotable book. i really want to type out the whole monologue where the girl sam rants about the nature of belief. you'll know it when you see it.

this is an amazing piece of americana for being by a brit. but maybe the only person who could see america as clearly as this is someone who adopted it gradually instead of growing up here.

i like the philosophy, i like the mythology. i like the main character's vices and habits and conflicted feelings about his wife, and his obsession with coin tricks and pithy advice he learned in prison. i also like his name - shadow - and i like his taste in books. i've spent a few months now derailed and reading books that shadow mentions liking himself as a younger man. i like the forces that molded him, and i admire his responses to things, simply because they're so different from what my own would be. i like the realizations that shadow comes to about being human as a result of being surrounded by gods, as well as on the nature of happiness, good, and evil. i like the cast of this book, the simple quiet townspeople who are also never quite that simple, and the gods who display magnified versions of all the typical human tendencies such as insecurity and lonliness.

i've read this book in pittsburgh pennsylvania, and i've also read it on a greyhound bus on the way to visit my girlfriend in cincinnati ohio, and i've also read it in san francisco california. what i really need to do though is read it on the road through heartland america. i need to actually stop and see some of the places they pass through, and try to think about their power, if any, and what it means for me to be there.

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