Sunday, May 17, 2009

Describing the Indescribable

How can I possibly "review" American Gods by Neil Gaiman? It is indescribable. It fits no known genre. It is bizarre. It is strange. It is wonderful.
It took about 150 pages before I had any clue as to what was going on. Then, very quickly, it is apparent that the book is actually about American Gods. Immigrants that have come to North America, from Native Americans, that came over the Bering land bridge 15,000 years ago, to the European immigrants that arrived in droves from the 1600s to the present day (and including so many other ethnic groups), brought their gods with them in their beliefs. These gods, largely abandoned by their believers, are alive and kicking in this book. The main character turns out to be a biological son of one of these gods.
This is a complex story. It is unlike anything I have ever read. But now that I have read this book (as well as Coraline), I can see why my cousin Jean and her son waited in line for over 3 hours to meet Neil Gaiman and get their books signed. (Jean, who is amazingly nice, got a book signed for Annie). It would be a special thing to get to exchange a few words with this author.
There were several highlights of this book. One is a sex scene that is indescribable...and weird. Gotta read it to appreciate it. The other is a murder mystery that is woven into the tapestry of the plot. The murder mystery was solved at the end of the book.
Before I give up in my feeble attempt at describing and reviewing this book, I want to thank my wife, Debi, for encouraging me to read this book. It really is an amazing and magical book. I am definitely going to read this one again. I'm sure I missed little nuances, etc. This one is destined to become a classic.


Debi said...

Indescribable...yep, I'd have to agree. And isn't that part of its pure genius?!! Damn, I love that book.

Nymeth said...

I remember that the first time I read it the murder mystery completely took me by surprise!

I'm very glad you enjoy this one so much :D

Jean said...

I read American Gods in Hue, and was absolutely entranced by it. I would agree that reading it a second, third, or subsequent time would yield new things overlooked before. This summer, I plan to read Anansi Boys, which is in the same fictional universe as American Gods. After that, perhaps I'll re-read AG.

Debi said...

Yay! Somebody commented on your blog!



Carl V. said...

I am so glad she got you to read it. It is an amazing, incredible read. If you haven't read it, I recommend reading the novella 'Monarch of the Glen' which is the last story in the Fragile Things collection. It is a story of an adventure of Shadows about 6 months or so after the events of American Gods. Its a good one.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Neil Gaiman on his tour for the book Anansi Boys. It was quite the memorable event.