30 October 2005

American Gods (Harper Collins, 2001)

In Neil Gaiman's America, Gods from all cultures live among regular folks, though they don't exactly live regular lives. Some have gone a bit crazy having been forgotten, unworshipped or disrespected; others have found creative ways to channel the energy they need. Of course America has also created its own gods -- Media, Internet, Commerce, and so on -- and a war is brewing between the old and the new gods for the masses' worship and sacrifice on which they feed.

American Gods follows a convict who goes by the name of Shadow. It follows him out of jail, where he finds the life he left behind in crumbled ruins, and into the employ of a man who calls himself Wednesday. Shadow is hired as a bodyguard, but it is soon clear he has a much bigger part to play. Shadow moves guardedly and skeptically through the world, usually choosing to observe rather than interact with people. He is well-read and he practices coin tricks to keep his mind focused. Gaiman slowly reveals details through Shadow's experiences and dreams, being careful not to reveal too much at each waypoint. The result is an inevitable but satisfying conclusion.

The recently released Anansi Boys is a spin-off from American Gods, following the family of Anansi who plays a small role in this book.

Buy American Gods.
Buy Anansi Boys.

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