American Gods

american gods

Neil Gaiman will be best known to many for his work on The Sandman comics. I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with comics, so I came to this having no previous experience of Gaiman’s work. It is a work that is ambitious, wild and energetic and is an exhilirating read because of that. As a novel it has many of the hallmarks of the fantasy/comic genre with its heavy drawing upon mythology and heavily-loaded character names. The story follows Shadow on an epic odyssey. Recently released from prison, he finds himself embroiled in a war between the gods – the old gods brought over by immigrants and the new gods of consumer capitalism. So Woden becomes Mr Wednesday, Anansi becomes Mr Nancy, Mad McSweeny becomes Mr Sweeney, a drunken Irishman. It’s all pretty obvious, if you have a familiarity with world mythology and folklore and more obscure if you’re not. I can imagine that this is a book that either you love or hate, and I’m not surprised that it has acquired something of a cult status amongst its fans. It does at times have some of the clumsiness of the first novel, but I loved it for its madness and the sheer size of its canvas.

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