I mentioned Neil Gaiman’s American Gods back here in October. Having lived and travelled n the US over several years, and being a fan of all things Americana, I was looking forward to the read, though I can’t recall where I picked up the reference to the publication of the author’s preferred text of his 2011 original best-seller (possibly heard him talking about it on BBC R4 Start The Week or Saturday Live ?)
Weirdly, after reading the first couple of chapters and encountering the strangest sex scene somewhere around chapter 4, I found Iain Hislop’s words “bonkers, bizarre” preventing me continuing. So what started out as a promising US Road Trip / Buddy movie screen-play lay unread on the bedside cabinet for 3 months. However last two weeks, I restarted from the beginning and devoured it – and the bonus “novella” sequel(*) included.
No room for a full review, but for me it was Douglas Adams(*) meets Satanic Verses(*), with a mass of Americana myth, culture and familiar locations. Quite brilliant – puts “religion vs rationality” debates into real perspective. A book “I wish I’d written”, in fact to continue my own writing project I’m going to have to find some new plot components and angles. Where have American Gods been all my life?
[(*) The sequel adds the familiar Norse gods, Norway, Viking & Northern Isles & northern-most Scotland (Sutherland) context to the already familiar Americana. Think more zombie / fantasy sci-fi than time & space travel scenarios and North London / St Pancras station, and substitute Mr Wednesday for the angel Gabriel, and you get the general idea. Personally, spooky coincidence of locations, themes and subject matter.]