American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has written a beautiful, funny and meaningful tale of the possibilities of a meta-reality in modern America. He takes us on vibrant journey which weaves both past and present in a delicately observed story. Meda_songs,_1851

The story explores key questions of the nature of belief, providing us with a scenario in which our lived world is the product of our imagined/believed world. Here, reality is the product of mind, an idea attractive to all with psychological, spiritual or imaginative leanings !

It is, of course, a heavily multi-layered story, with apparent current meaning resting upon inferences of precedent meanings. I found myself going back in the book a few times to work out how, and why, certain events come into being.

Gaiman gives us many moments of ‘old world wisdom’, and many sagacious ways to look at our modern world. He provides us with a new lens for seeing the modern world, and as such a better appreciation of our times.

There is a cliche which bemoans the dawning of the  ‘new delusionment’ of contemporary life, I think that Gaiman counterbalances delusion in one sphere with a growing belief in another area. I found this interesting for a fantasy novel, as rather than paint idealistic archetypes of the past he uses the past to understand today. It’s about evolution rather than conservation or techno-reactionism.

I find much modern realist-fantasy is at best solely devoid of any appreciation of possibilities of the basics of time space distanciation. At worst it is often a rather droll attempt to either replicate recent top-sellers. American Gods falls for neither of these traps, and is never even in danger of coming close to such errors.

There is an unforgettable moment of matriarchal power which will remain with many for a long time after reading the book !

American Gods was the first Neil Gaiman book that I have read, and after reading it I immediately bought The Ocean at the end of the lane, and I can’t wait to read it.

The book gave me much pause for thought as to why we now bring such strong belief systems to consumption, status, media and aesthetics. How and why did we lose belief in the beauty of honesty, connection and compassion. Or did we ?


About danieltrump

breathing and sensing human. Learning to observe, learning to write, exploring ideas and thinking.


  1. I have only read one book by Neil Gaiman – a children’s book called, “The Day I Traded my Dad for Two Goldfish,” and it’s bizarre and lovely. I can only imagine what his adult books would be like, and perhaps this summer, I’ll have a chance to read one. Thanks for the review.

  2. My friend, J, read The Ocean at the End of the Lane; actually, listened to the audio book, which Gaiman reads, and loved it. I listened to a bit of it and was transfixed by his voice and story. If you haven’t read it already, you might enjoy the classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. It was a Dudes on Books selection and not what I would normally pick up. Written in the late 50’s, at the height of the atomic bomb threat, it’s brilliantly and sadly prophetic about civilizations repeating the same mistakes, and reads like a contemporary post-apocalyptic novel. I highly recommend The Dog Star by Peter Heller, too, which actually was written just a few years ago. It was my favorite read that year.

    • Many thanks for the recommendations, much appreciated. I love all that post-apocalyptic stuff – it’s sort of anomie fantasy ! Thanks for taking your time to read and comment, it is much appreciated.

  3. sykik

    Gaiman has always been the writer I really wanted to read but not ever made my mind up to start reading. Strange! Maybe it was that movie, I forget its name. Anyway, your review makes this book sound irresistible. On my 2014 reading list for sure.

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