Headline Book Publishing, 2001, 635 pages.
Awards: Nebula and the Hugo Awards (For Sci-Fi), the Bram Stoker Award (Horror), and Locus Award (Fatnasy)
This book has an introduction written in 2005 by Neil Gaiman, explaining that this particular book is the “Author’s Preferred Text Edition”. (This is 12,000 words longer than the original edition, the one that won all the awards).
Classified as “Americana Folklore/Mythology”, American Gods follows the adventures of central character, Shadow, a man serving 6 years in prison and is due to get out (after serving 3 years) for good behavior. 2 days before his scheduled release, he receives news that his wife has died in a car accident. He is devastated as it was the thought of being with his wife once again was what kept him going all these years. When he boards the plane to fly back to his hometown, he meets the God of America, a mysterious character who goes by the name Wednesday, also known as “Odin” and “All Father” throughout the book.
Wednesday gives Shadow a job offer, to act as his bodyguard, protect him, and “in the unlikely event of his death, hold his vigil.” Shadow, having no life left or ahead of him, accepts the offer.
Little does Shadow know what he’s going to be in the middle of a great battle between the Old and the New Gods of America.
American Gods isn’t really a cross country ride across the US as some descriptions of the book say it to be (the journey is mostly along midwest states)
It’s an epic sized adventure about the throne-fight between gods who ruled before, and gods who are invading present day life (technology, etc). There is a part where I was reminded of an imagery of Jesus Christ when Shadow was hung on the tree for 9 days to hold vigil for Wednesday.
I still enjoyed Gaiman’s ‘smaller’ works (Stardust, Neverwhere, Coraline) over the great big American Gods.