“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman

4725138Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just before his release, his wife and his best friend, that would offer him a job, are killed in a mysterious accident. Left alone, with no place to go and his life in ruins, he will meet Mr. Wednesday and will accept his unconventional job offer. Shadow agrees to become a driver and more than a bodyguard for the enigmatic man and so the adventure begins along with a road trip.

The book is not one and only story, that of Shadow and Mr. Wednesday. It is many stories combined in one. The old Gods from all over the globe that came to america, one way or the other, the people that believed in them and how the made their ways through the centuries in a journey that would keep them alive also for the years to come. To achieve that the old Gods need to win the war, which is not an easy task. Shadow’s role in all the storm that is coming is huge and he just doesn’t know it yet.

The author builds his story with a virtuosity, a trait found in all his books. It is not common, it is not known, it does not ring any bells and most certainly it is as crazy and unexpected as it could. Yet it flows in the more quiet way, like a runnel, until it becomes a torrent that blows away all that’s found in its way. The reader becomes obsessed over the story and refuses to set aside for even a moment. The descriptions of all those imaginary characters, places and times, exceed even masters of the genre and create new avenues to walk on.

Gaiman’s world, the world of American Gods, is nothing more than a unique schematic of today’s american population. People of all nationalities have come to the new land, maybe in different times than the ones we know or even the ones we don’t know about, bringing with them their beliefs. In Gaiman’s book their beliefs are their Gods. In reality it could be the folkway of each location. All these, Gods and customs, leave along as long as we believe in them and honor them. New Gods takes old Gods’ place. New customs replace the old ones, and so on. It’s nobody’s fault; it’s just the era we are going through. This is why this has to come clean and everything has to go in place. This is why there’s got to be a war and winner after all. The new or the old will prevail? Or maybe it’s not like this?

Finally we see that the Gods that people brought with them on their arrival in the new land, don’t really have much in common with the ones that existed in the old country, they are different. A lot. Just like people are not the same that used to be in the old country. But that’s another story…

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