Apr 6, 2007

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Well, there is a reason why Neil Gaiman is my favourite writer. This book is even better than I remembered.

The first time I read it was four or five years ago, and since then my knowledge of mythology has increased, so this time around I was able to understand references and pick up details I had missed before. But what's so great about this book is that you don't need to know a thing about mythology to enjoy it. If you don’t, you'll probably leave with a new found interest and you'll learn a thing or two. But if you do, your reading experience will be enriched, and you might be able to guess a few things, since the many mythological references work as hints concerning certain plot points.

Another thing I didn't quite remember about this book is how the tone is so different from Neil's other works - different from the elegance of Stardust, from the epic tone of Sandman. It's rougher, more modern in a sense, but it suits the story perfectly and it works wonderfully.

And Neil's usual timeless tone can be found in the wonderful "Coming to American" interludes, which are among my favourite parts of the book, and, in my opinion, among Neil's best short stories. Myths are, most of the time, pure plot. A story is told, a great story most of the time, but there isn't much room for character, for emotions, for thoughts. What the gods and heroes were thinking and feeling is left for the reader to imagine.

One of the things I love the most about Neil Gaiman is how he imagines this for us. How did Sigyn feel holding that bowl? How was it like to hang from Yggdrasil for nine days? Neil Gaiman perfectly interweaves epic, millennium-old plots with psychological and emotional insight, and that's one of the reasons why his work is so remarkable.

Other Blog Reviews:
Rhinoa's Ramblings
Nothing of Importance
Quixotical
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Bold.Blue.Adventure
somewhere i have never travelled
Some Reads
Just Add Books
Reading Room
My Own Little Reading Room
Serendipity
Kristina's Favourites

13 comments:

  1. Well, I like that cover better than the cover I have. I really have to read this book. I started it, and then I lost it (I'm bad like that) and still have not picked it back up to read. One of these days.

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  2. AG is an amazing book. If you ever get the urge to hear it again I highly recommend the unabridged book on CD. The reader is fantastic!

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  3. Kailana, you really do have to. It's such an enriching and enjoyable book.

    Carl, I have not yet ventured into the world of audiobooks, but one of these days I'll give it a try.

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  4. Just like anything, some are wonderful and some are dreadful, but any audio books where Neil is reading his own work and wonderful as is the American Gods audio with the reader they chose.

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  5. I enjoyed this review. Neil is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, too. I haven't gotten to this book yet, but I'm looking forward to it when I do!

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  6. Neil Gaiman is my favourite author, and American Gods is a great book. Love it.

    Great review!

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  7. I always enjoy Neil Gaiman's ability to weave in references to mythology, history and sometimes even sociology in a seamless and effortless manner.

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  8. I'm happy to see all the Neil Gaiman appreciation :D

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  9. Great review. This is one of my favorites of all times. It never ceases to amaze me!

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  10. I have linked this review with mine here

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  11. Here is my link to the review
    http://serendipityteacher.blogspot.com/2009/01/american-gods-by-neil-gaiman.html

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Great review! Here's my link!

    http://kristinasfavorites.blogspot.com/2008/12/american-gods-by-neil-gaiman.html

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.