|Submitted by Thomas Sounness |
(May 15, 2007)
Neil impresses me .. mostly because he mixes up cultural mythology within today's crunchy edged society. The worlds he creates for us to read are part of today's cars and buses and trains and roads and political states, but there is this new level, a new layer, extra overlay that is revealed. It matches with the real world we all know, but this extra level is well realized, quite believable and I find it sitting well on it's own internal logic. Not all science fiction/fantasy novel do this for me.
I read American Gods whilst overseas, lying on a horsehair matted mattress quietly sweating in the tropics. In the book I was comfortably lead through an American world with inherited gods from all the multitudinous races that make up America. Great fearful gods, little tricky gods, new gods, old gods. All powered by belief. You don't see these gods, because they are behind the reality you see. And Shadow, the character you first encounter leaving prison after being imprisoned for a crime committed, for his long standing loving wife.
Not all goes to plan in Shadow's world. A rug is pulled out of his large stable feet, he is put in new and uncertain places, he takes a plane ride and discovers that the world he always knew is not the world he inhabits.
I found many fascinating revelations of this world. I would not like to be Shadow as his journey is a rough one, but I would like to be Shadow as his destination (once the journey is traveled) is a journey of his own integrity in many respects, and at the end he is his own man despite the world of intrigue he inhabits.
My favorite character is Mr Nancy ... laudable ethics. Death is not final. Birth is not guaranteed. Godhood is not forever. Reality is so more than that.
Wonderful book - I probably read it 20 times on that horsehair mat in the sweating heat, and each time I was remote from my flesh and in the world of Niel Gaimans' ... it can't get much better that this from me.
Now all I need to do is track down another copy of the book, I keep giving it away to other people :-(