Summary: First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic—an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this tenth anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neal Gaiman…Read more.
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Neil Gaiman: American Gods Audio Book Review
American Gods by Neil Gaiman is an award-winning book with a blend of fantasy, ancient and modern mythology as well as Americana. It all centers around the mysterious protagonist known as Shadow and some of its themes are similar to those found in The Sandman graphic novels.
The book suggests that mythical creatures and gods exist because human beings believe in them, and they were brought to the United States by the immigrants. However, their powers have waned as people’s beliefs continue to fade. This is attributable to the rising of the new gods; that is the internet, the media, technology, drugs, celebrities among others. Throughout the rest of this post, I shall be giving you a summary of the novel.
American Gods Summary
Shadow has been in jail for three years, and he has spent this time learning coin tricks while he waits to reunite with his wife, Laura. However, his life is soon to change as he receives tragic news of his wife who died in a car accident. Even though he is let out of prison early, he is to spend the rest of his life alone.
When travelling to Laura’s funeral, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday, a mysterious man who seems to more about Shadow’s life than he seems. The enigmatic man offer’s Shadow a job and even after his initial reluctance and skepticism, he accepts the job as his bodyguard.
As Shadow unknowingly seals the deal by drinking three rounds, he finds himself in an adventure with the mysterious man, who we soon discover is a self-proclaimed worker and an incarnation of the old God, Norse-All Father Odin. Mr. Wednesday’s real intentions are to gather the rest of the Old Gods and prepare for the inevitable between them and the New Gods.
The New Gods of Internet, radio, television, technology and other domains of modern culture despise the Old Gods and hunt them one by one. However, Wednesday has a plan that involves all the Old Gods brought to America hundreds of years ago, by the immigrants. Unfortunately, he discovers that uniting these forgotten Gods whose powers have diminished over time is not an easy task.
Mr. Wednesday and Shadow set out on an epic trip around America, taking in roadside attractions which Mr. Wednesday claims to be significant sources of power. They ideally meet the old Gods, dwarfs, leprechauns, culture heroes, gorgons, genies and others. All this time, they are trying to stay ahead of the mighty New Gods who have all the belief on their side.
Shadow uncovers many secrets, including his own mysterious past and learning that his father was Mr. Wednesday. He also learns how to take gold from the hoard of the sun, and he is granted the freedom of the moon. Shadow’s sacrifice on the World Tree reveals certain facts that have been long hidden to him as he takes a path of Hard Truths and ultimately learns to be truly alive.