Shadow has spent the last three years in prison and is about to get out when he gets the news that his wife died in a car crash. Devastated, he gets released early and makes his way home to the funeral. Before he arrives there, though, he meets the mysterious Mr Wednesday who is more than he seems to be. Wednesday hires Shadow and Shadow gets drawn into things that are way bigger than he is. Even though he’s a big guy.
American Gods is a Love-it-or-hate-it book. Deadra, who is a huge Neil Gaiman fan, couldn’t finish it. I devoured it for the second time already. And I still love it. Shadow is a great character, the story is interesting and I love the inclusion of all kinds of mythologies and the small stories that are told throughout the book.
I love American Gods. But it’s also a book, where my reactions are very guarded, as if, should I talk to much about it, the magic would kind of evaporate. Which made it weird for me to read it for 1B1T and I quickly stopped tweeting my reactions, and tweeted only quotes from the book itself. And I didn’t participate at all in the discussion around the book.
What I’m trying to say is this: even though it tells such a sprawling story, American Gods is a very private book for me and I’m hesitant to talk about it. Probably because it’s a book you should discover for yourself.
But here’s the things you need to know: It’s wonderful, at least if you’re in the love-it group of people, filled with strong characters and beautiful writing. Read it.
After finishing it, I also re-read the novella The Monarch in the Glen, because I just wasn’t ready yet to leave Shadow behind. [And can I just say how psyched I’d be about an actual, full-length sequel?] Anyway, the Monarch in the Glen gives us a rounder ending for Shadow and closes things off better than American Gods. Which means, it was okay to not read on after reading it.
One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless.
The tale is the map which is the territory.
You must remember this.
– From the notebooks of Mr Ibis