American Gods

By Neil Gaiman

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: HarperTorch, c2001.

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, mythic fiction

ISBN: 9780380789030

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 592

Setting: USA – Eagle Point, Indiana;  Chicago & Cairo, Illinois; House on the Rock & Lakeside, Wisconsin; South Dakota; Lebanon, Kansas; Virginia; Lookout Mountain/ Rock City, Georgia; Fort Pierce, Florida; and many points inbetween.

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: A storm is coming. Shadow is let out of prison a few days early because his wife was killed in an accident.  On his journey home, Shadow meets Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than which Shadow is comfortable.  A storm is coming and Wednesday needs Shadow’s help.  Shadow has been having strange dreams as his life has been turned upside down.   A storm is coming and it’s heading for Shadow. Appeal factors:

Pacing: Brisk pace

Characterization: The story is told in third person primarily from Shadow’s perspective; there are very few other perspectives/ journal entries given.  The most important secondary characters are Wednesday and Laura

Frame: Early in the story, the reader is introduced to the metaphorical storm which is approaching.  This storm provides the frame throughout the book.  It will not be a pleasant, gentle rain, but rather an earthshaking, loud, and dangerous storm.

Story line: A complex plot with intriguing characters (which include bloodthirsty gods and spirits from trickster backgrounds) trying not only to survive under difficult circumstances, but to live their lives to the fullest.

Subject headings:
From Pima County Public Library:
Ex-convicts — Fiction.
Bodyguards — Fiction.
Widowers — Fiction.
National characteristics, American — Fiction.
Spiritual warfare — Fiction.
Fantasy fiction.

Similar works: Imajica by Clive Barker Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell  by Susanna Clarke Nation by Terry Pratchett Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Personal notes:  Great story! I love the Caveat, and Warning for Travelers in the beginning.  “Furthermore, it goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise in this story are fictional or used in a fictional context.  Only the gods are real.” While I truly enjoyed this story I think I preferred Anansi Boys because it is a much lighter (and humorous) story.

Other: Diversity – gods from various background, spirits, undead woman, animal people, people of mixed heritage, ex-convict

Neil Gaiman’s website

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