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American Gods

(American Gods #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  855,978 ratings  ·  43,149 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
Paperback, Author's preferred text, 635 pages
Published March 4th 2005 by Headline Review (first published June 19th 2001)
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Neil - author, fantasy

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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  855,978 ratings  ·  43,149 reviews

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David Katzman
Sep 23, 2012 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
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
Jun 29, 2009 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
Megs ♥
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
Jul 01, 2008 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
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 just to read it,
(A-) 81% | Very Good
Notes: The concept's pretty brilliant, but the plot can be slow and plodding at times and the end doesn't live up to the build.
My first thought on this book:

This is a 2.5 to 3 star book max for me. I am pretty sure this will be my last Neil Gaiman book. I have tried two others (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch and The Ocean at the End of the Lane) and one of those was okay (Omens) and one of them I couldn't stand (Ocean).

I realize that my feelings on Gaiman and his books are contrary to popular opinion, but they are just not my cup of tea. They are slow. They seem intentionally odd and
Sean Barrs
Aug 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Bill Kerwin
Nov 10, 2012 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 our technological world. The gods are indeed the best part of this very good book: degenerate and threadbare, yet still gods, capable of
Jan 17, 2012 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.
Audiobook re-read 2020
I'm sticking with my original rating, but only because the voice cast is simply amazing. If you're on the fence about this version of the book, I'd highly suggest listening to it. It's long, it rambles, and it doesn't go anywhere very interesting. The actual plot of this book could have filled 100 pages, while the other 500 pages read like a mythological travelogue of the United States. There's nothing wrong with that, and it was exactly what Gaiman set out to do. I'm just
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, myth, horror
***Now a celebrated TV series on Starz.***

“‘I read some book about brains,’ she said. ‘My roommate had it and she kept waving it around. It was like, how five thousand years ago the lobes of the brain fused and before that people thought when the right lobe of the brain said anything it was the voice of some god telling them what to do. It’s just brains.’

‘I like my theory better,’ said Shadow.

‘What’s your theory?’

‘That back then people used to run into the gods from time to time.’”

 photo Shadow American Gods_zpsynhfzja0.png
Kevin Kuhn
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This is an exceptional tale. And the idea of this tale, the central concept, might even be better than the tale itself. Yet, it’s still a masterfully-written, wonderful book, which tells you just how fantastic a concept it is. It was published in 2001 and won the 2002 Hugo and Nebula (and yes, I’m just now reading it). I read the ten-year anniversary edition with the extra 12,000 words.

Compared to Europe, America has no mythology and hardly a history. Norse mythology can be traced back to the 13
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
American Gods (American Gods #1), Neil Gaiman

American Gods (2001) is a fantasy novel by British author Neil Gaiman.

The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow.

Shadow is an ex-convict who is released from prison three days early when his wife Laura is killed in a car accident. Shadow is devastated by her death, and is distraught to learn that she died alongside his best friend Robbie, with w
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the full cast audiobook of this while on a long drive and I highly recommend it for the experience.

This book is meandering, in such a way that you can feel yourself getting lost. But, in Gaiman fashion, he has a way of tying everything up in the end (or not in some cases) in a way that was satisfying for me.

If you don't mind a character focused story with a lot of detours and LOVE mythology, you'll eat this up.

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
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. ...more
I finished American Gods two weeks ago and I postponed writing a review as I was trying to come up with something smart to match the book. Obviously, as always when I struggle too much, nothing comes to min. I will just let my heart do the talking, then.

Neil Gaiman is a genius. There is something magical about his writing that enwraps me every time I open the pages of his creations. Maybe it is the way he combines action, mystery, mythology, mysticism, surreal, together with life lessons and ha
American Gods, a meandering tale of a book, took me at least two tries to get through, despite my gravitation towards urban fantasy.. The concept of "old versus modern" gods is an intriguing one, and I can always get involved in themes of belief, stories and myth. It didn't always work, however, and was completed at stuttering pace. Transitions can be rough, and it's not always clear where a particular chunk of narrative is heading. I feel like part of it is that we have indeed lost the old gods ...more
I am writing this review ten months after I started this book, and eight months after finishing it, because in addition to me taking two-thirds of a year to get around to penciling in some thoughts I also took straight up sixty days to read it.

Well, not read it. Listen to it.

This is the first audiobook I have ever listened to, and it is twenty hours long. This event caused me to give myself the well-earned and extremely catchy nickname “the real American God of this whole situation - get it bec
"Many things prove to me that the gods take part in the affairs of man." - Herodotus

In Gaiman’s story, the converse is equally true: the very existence of the gods depends on the affairs of mankind, specifically, that people believe in them. Like mortals, they need to be loved.

Gods from cultures around the world travelled to the US in the minds of immigrants. The indigenous people already had their own gods, and now (2001) there are new gods as well: internet, capitalism, media etc. In a mater
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neil Gaiman , what a storyteller! This is an amazing piece of writing. All the characters in this book are brought to life so well. In fact many a times, I felt like I was destined to read this book, as I was meant to be part of this story.

American Gods - is all about belief. If you can believe it, then you can live a life of God. This book is a grand tale of ancient and modern gods.

But, always remember, "Gods are great, but the heart is greater. For it is from our hearts they come, and to ou
هدى يحيى

إن كنت مهتما بالأساطير والخرافات والأديان القديمة
والروايات الحديثة سريعة 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
Interesting. It appears that this book that I reviewed back around 2011 was deleted off my shelf and readded in 2017 - but definitely not by me. What makes me furious is that it erased the entire long comment thread for this review.

Conversations with friends are NOT replaceable.

But at least it prompted me to start the long-overdue re-read.

2020 re-reading:

This book is long and epic. It slowly meanders through strange places and events, with nothing coming together to form a coheren
mark monday
Feb 07, 2012 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
Update: Re-read for the first time in years to prep for reviewing the tv show. So excited!!! I'm recapping for B&N, I'll be putting links up on my profile periodically to the recaps.

Overall, this is a harder book than I remembered. So much harder (as in, harder-edged) and more thoughtful than I remember, both. It's not as twisty/turny surprise-y as it was when I read it last time, but it more than makes up for it with the new thematic things I have the headspace to think about. There's so much
2ish stars.

Big news - I added a whole star since my last reading way back in the day because it was more amusing this time around.
Verdict - Still probably in my top 5 most overrated books ever.

Here's the thing. Nothing happens. Gaiman spins an incredibly long yarn that never actually takes form. There's no character development. The protagonist, Shadow, tragically, was born without a personality. It's the dullest road trip ever, without a destination. Even when there's death or mystery or whate
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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.”
“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.” 5429 likes
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