October 26, 2007

American Gods

Shadow is a shadow indeed. His character stealthily glides through Neil Gaiman's tale of Gods and their desperate attempts to remain relevant; all having been brought to America by her immigrants of every possible genealogy and from every place in the world. But at the center is Shadow, a soon-to-be paroled convict who doesn't want anything other than to get back to his wife Laura. But then there's a complication with that, and though it happens early in the story, I don't want to drop any spoilers. This complication leads, either directly or indirectly, to his encounter with Wednesday, and man does the shit get weird after that. The Gods start showing up left and right, and they ride a carousel, and they the pluck the moon out of sky for him, and they beat him up, and...you get the idea.

American Gods is not a horror story and I hate to draw this comparison, but it is unavoidable: Gaiman's story reads like a good Stephen King novel. I couldn't help but think of the book King did with Peter Straub: The Talisman. Back before 1985 or so I read most of Steve's stuff and I happen to think he's an excellent storyteller. But I digress.

This is a great read. Neil must've done a helluvalotta research into all these obscure deities that he discusses, all having taken human form and surviving as such in the Land of the Free. You get backstory on how several of the Gods were brought to America.

A primary vehicle that Gaiman rides on here, is the premise that Gods don't make man, man makes Gods. By believing in, and sacrificing too, a God of man's imagining, man gives the God form and life. The God lives only if he or she or it is alive in the minds and hearts of people, its strength deriving from exactly how much of that belief still exists. Here we have Horus, Ibis, Anubis, Legba from Africa, Anansi, Odin, Loki, Eostre, and many others. And they're all portrayed as humans with quirky personalities. However, the allegory comes in with the emergence of the new Gods on the horizon: Technology, Media, Agency etc.

There's a battle brewing. The new Gods want to get rid of the Old Ones. And somehow Shadow, our Everyman, lands right in the middle of it. His role is essential, he just doesn't know why or what it is.

I'd like to get back to writing for this blog, and not so much photos. Hopefully this will help break that ice. The comments still don't work.

Posted by Wayne at October 26, 2007 07:49 PM
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