American Gods by Neil Gaiman


"Would you believe that all the gods that people have ever imagined are still with us today? ... And that there are new gods out there, gods of computers and telephones and whatever, and that they all seem to think there isn't room for them both in the world. And that some kind of war is kind of likely." - Shadow, American Gods, chapter 13.

The core narrative of American Gods is described in the above quote by the story's protagonist, an ex-convict named Shadow. He is released from jail several days early due to the unexpected death of his wife, and is quickly recruited to be a driver and bodyguard for the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, who is attempting to muster the strength of the old gods to combat the newer, upstart gods.

The majority of the book is spent with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday as they drive across middle America. Gaiman uses several quirky roadside attractions as important settings, including the House on the Rock and its indoor carousel, located in western Wisconsin.

Running beneath the surface of the main storyline are several important themes, like what it means to be alive and how belief has the power to shape reality. Within the main story itself are several smaller vignettes, all about various individuals and how they and their gods came to America. These serve to illustrate another central idea of the book: Everybody has a story. Shadow's story takes him to places beyond imagination, and introduces him to a cast of characters that will not soon be forgotten.

Jen @ Washington Park

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This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on June 1, 2012 8:07 AM.

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