America is a bad place for gods in American Gods by Neil Gaiman. In modern day, a war has broken out between the old gods and the new. This is where Shadow finds himself – standing in the middle of a troubling war he doesn’t fully understand.
Shadow has been in jail for the last three years and as soon as he’s about to be released, his wife Laura dies in a car crash. Unexpectedly, Shadow meets the odd and all knowing Mr. Wednesday, a leader of the old gods, who offers him a job. With nowhere to go and nothing to do but grieve, he accepts Mr. Wednesday’s offer.
We soon learn that Wednesday is rallying the old gods to join him in the battle. Shadow plays a larger role in this than he could have ever imagined.
Through this story, Gaiman shares a vivid history of America. It’s a really interesting idea, this war of the gods, and it’s very fantastical and full of mythology. The story is definitely thought-provoking, but the pace was slow for me and some of the transitions from one scene to the next were difficult to follow.
I loved Gaiman’s book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and while American Gods was also good, it was very different. It’s clear that he’s a very talented writer!
“’This is the only country in the world,’ said Wednesday, into stillness, ‘that worries about what it is.’”
“Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.”