“The TV’s the altar. I’m what people are sacrificing to.’
‘What do they sacrifice?’ asked Shadow.
‘Their time, mostly,’ said Lucy. ‘Sometimes each other.”
Low-Key Liesmith. Mr. Wednesday. Mr. Nancy who tells a story about spiders. American Gods is a book for people like me, who like wonderful and crazy stories and all kinds of mythology. I’m not going to spoil who these guys actually are, but I think the people who should absolutely read this book have guessed their true identities already.
The concept of is fairly easy. There are people. These people believe in gods. Their belief makes said gods real. If people stop believing in them, they’ll die. The gods and other creatures were brought to America by the immigrants who believed in them. But what if America starts believing in other things than the gods, like the television or the internet?
American Gods, written by Neil Gaiman, is about Shadow. He’s an ex-convict, who ended up in jail after he got into a bar fight over the honor of his wife, Laura. Shadow is released from his three-year prison sentence a few days early. Turns out she and Shadow’s best friend died in a car accident and he gets to go home early in order to attend the funeral.
He goes by plane and meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday on the way there. Mr. Wednesday declares that Shadow’s old job, the one that was waiting for him, isn’t there anymore and offers him another. The details Wednesday offers are shady, and signing up requires getting drunk with a goblin. And this is only the beginning of Shadow’s adventure. And his adventures involve robbing banks and his undead wife visiting once in a while.
“So,” he asked. “How’s death?”
“Hard,” she said. “It just keeps going.”
It’s a funny book. Shadow gets in weird situations and remains very calm about it. So calm it almost borders on apathic at times. It causes certain scenes to feel surreal or like a dream. And it’s this sense of surrealism that makes it a funny book.
American Gods, published in 2001, is not the first book by Neil Gaiman I’ve read. I’ve read several of his stories for kids, like Coraline -the movie Coraline is based on this book- and the Graveyard Book which are both funny and heartwarming. Another must read by Neil Gaiman is Good Omens which is a collaboration between him and Terry Prachett, his fellow writer of fantasy books. Besides this he also wrote several graphic novels named ‘Sandman’, published by Vertigo comics. Mr. Gaiman has received a very long list of awards, including at least five for American Gods.
So, to recap; American Gods, an absolute must read about a guy who gets in these crazy adventures involving gods and undead spouses by a best-selling, award-winning author. Next time when you have to read a book for English, read this book instead of your one hundred-page novella. It’s absolutely worth it.