American Gods – Neil Gaiman

I got the book as a gift. I picked it up a whim one Sunday afternoon, when the children were asleep and sat reading the sun warmed the deck for maybe the last time of the year, and was hooked by a few pages. Gaiman is a good wordsmith, and he takes the reader on a interesting carnival ride of a story. I was reminded of Jitterbug Perfume (by Tom Robbins) where the gods disappear when they are forgotten. That’s the main thing happening in the book, the old gods (Odin, Thor, Isis) are being replaced by new gods (Media, Television, Technology).

And here’s the thing, when you are being pulled along by the gods, you don’t have many choices. And so, the main character, simply does what he’s told, and we wait until page 314 before he makes a decision of his own. I’m sure Gaiman knows this, because he writes “in dreams you have no choices” pg 303, and another time when the protagonists wife says, “you’re not dead,… but I’m not sure that you are alive, either” (pg 370)   So that sorta bothered me, the protagonist is just the way we watch the story unfold, without him actually making a decision.

Yeah….fate. You get a lot of that when mortals play with the gods, as when one says to the main character, “You have never disappointed me….You did everything you were intended to do” (pg 530.)

Personally, I like it when authors give their characters have free will.

(Oh, and if I wasn’t a dunce regarding fore-shadowing, which in hind-sight was bloody obvious, I would have enjoyed the ride even less.)


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