Summer, like books, offers the opportunity to escape from the increasingly horrifying reality of what we witness in our daily news dose. Getting lost in a good book (or movie, depending on which part of this site you like to visit the most) is a small favor that we can grant ourselves during the summer and getting so lost that you have to remember to pull yourself away, to go to work, to go to bed, to finish the laundry…
Well, that’s a special treat altogether.
To find a book that engrossing that you forget where you are altogether is a rare pleasure that doesn’t always happen, but when it does, you know you have found something special.
Welcome to the worlds created by Neil Gaiman.
Specifically, we are talking about American Gods. Written in 2001, before he was quite the household name he is today, American Gods was recently adapted, with the help of Gaiman himself, into a series for Starz. The show, as I have seen so far, is spectacular and true to the book in ways that few screen adaptations are. Due to the collaboration with Neil Gaiman himself, this adaptation has proven to be what many of its readers had long hoped it could be.
But we aren’t here to talk about the show. Kevin has that covered in detail in his own reviews.
No, we are here to talk about the book that show sprang from.
My own copy came in at a comforting seven hundred and fifty pages and this book feels like you are holding a universe in your hand. One that is, ultimately, unknowable, alien, frightening, and frankly, beautiful. American Gods is Neil Gaiman’s most celebrated work to date and it’s easy to see why. If I hadn’t known otherwise, I would have mistaken Gaiman for being born in America, for having made multiple cross country trips, and having known the American landscape from his own roots.
While Gaiman has made trips across the country, he was born in the United Kingdom. However, the imagery and language he uses with such delicate charm entices the reader to think that he was born in America, having soaked in the Americana genre from birth to eventually shows its many citizens the truth that Mr. Wednesday states: “This is the only country in the world,” said Wednesday, into the stillness, “that worries about what it is.”