I’m just back from a two-week holiday where the weather washed away all the planned long walks and I spent much of the time in front of a log fire, glass in hand, making serious inroads into my tbr list.
I began with ‘American Gods’. It’s a big book (650+ pages) and I’d had a couple of false starts with it, reading enough to realise that to do the book justice I needed to set aside a big slice of time. I was right: given that time I found the book truly remarkable.
One of the things I like about Gaiman’s work is that, as an Englishman who has lived in the States for years, he can set books in America in a way that I find convincingly authentic while remaining accessible – unlike many American writers whose work I’m finding increasingly impenetrable as American-English moves relentlessly away from British-English.
The basic idea behind this book is that gods exist as long as someone believes in them and that while they exist they will do anything to maintain their power. The book is fairly slow paced, but I found that the succession of strange events drew me in until I was desperate for an explanation. The occasional diversion into the history of migration into North America was interesting, building understanding of the diversity of gods. I found it an ambitious, intriguing and challenging book.
What I found particularly interesting is that the later edition I read contained additional passages that the author had persuaded the publishers to insert. It says a lot for the author’s conviction in his theme that he wanted to return to an already highly-successful book and make what he considered to be enhancements. This edition is the one with the cover image shown. You may have to shop around to find it. At the time of writing, this edition wasn’t listed on Amazon, but other editions are. American Gods