This book has won a lot of awards and was first published in 2001, but somehow I have never come across it.

American Gods (Author’s preffered text)

by Neil Gaiman

Book Review in one sentence:

A dark road trip across American with a collection of forgotten and downtrodden Gods.

My analysis:

It took me weeks to read this book. I think it was because there was so much depth to it, so much going on that you have to dissect it word for word to get the real meaning. It is a very adult book, filled with the best and worst humanity has to offer and also filled with magic.  The main character, Shadow, goes on an American oddessy with these gods (main players are Norse and Slavic gods but many others are thrown in throughout the book).

I really wished I had brushed up on my mythology before reading this book. The Greek/Roman pantheon of Gods is totally missing from this book. Maybe they are too well known? Gaiman seems to focus on the forgotten Gods.

This book is not about religion (infact the major players today Christianity, Muslim, etc are largely left out, although Jesus is mentioned in passing). This is a book about faith, hope, justice, and the human condition.

I also appreciated the references to the modern day Gods such as  Internet and Media. It is chilling that we spend so much of our time ‘worshipping’ these concepts that they have become dieties of sorts.  

It is also important to note, I read the author’s preferred text of the book, which I would compare to watching the director’s cut of a movie. I would recommend reading this version, as it has 12,000 words extra.

Themes Explored in this Book:  Faith, the Human Contidion, Memes, Magic, Power, Illusions, Blood, Sex, Ressurection

Related reading:

The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones
The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

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2 thoughts on “American Gods

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