Gods Ancient And Modern #americangods #bookreview


I’ve become a bit of an Audible books aficionado when out with Dog and probably listened to 30 books last year.

Choosing what to listen to, though is a challenge. Not all books work for me as a listening experience. A complex plot, a book which is heavily character driven, both tend to get a bit lost on tape. But a single narrator telling a linear story is perfect and if it’s something of an epic then that’s even better.

So when I downloaded American Gods by Neil Gaiman I had hopes that this would fit the bill.

If you don’t know this book it follows the fortunes of Shadow, just about to be released from prison having done his time for a robbery when he finds his wife has been killed in a car accident. At his lowest point he encounters Mr Wednesday who offers him a job as a minder come general factotum. What Shadow comes to realise is Mr Wednesday is a god, one of the old gods who came to America with the many immigrants that have made the continent their home. Wednesday is convinced war is coming with the new breed of American Gods who Americans worship today: money, retail, fashion, the cars and the roads, the cities.

Shadow takes the job but can’t understand why he and his role is so important to both sides and as he trails across the states, chased and chasing he begins to uncover many truths and even more lies that make up the conundrum that is today’s America and its relationships with its gods. It was written just after the Millennium but it feels so very current.

It is engrossing, gripping, confusing and ridiculous, funny and poignant and many other things.

If you know it, I wonder if you found it mind altering like I did. That’s a funny thing to write but amongst the total absurdity of the ideas there were so many contemporary truths that  I had to stop and think about what was being said. Many times it was me randomly stopping while Dog had to wait for me rather than the other way around.

If you haven’t read or listened to it, then give it a go. If you don’t do fantasy, and generally I don’t, swallow your prejudices. Give it a whirl. And if you’ve yet to invest in Audible books you really are missing out…

It’s weird, it’s wacky and it’s wonderful. Like America.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to Gods Ancient And Modern #americangods #bookreview

  1. What a wonderful review, Geoff! My TBR is a mountain right now or else I’d add it! I drive my boys all over–for school and sports–in great American style, and so I have time to listen to books in the car. Right now, it’s _Lillian Boxfish…_ which is fun for the language and all the New York spots and times she remembers. A bold book–I can’t imagine querying agents about that one: “it’s about an old lady who takes a long walk and remembers a ton of stuff!” Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Neil Gaiman’s stories and they frequently alter my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read this one, it sounded a bit scary to me – but as I am a Neil Gaiman fan maybe I’ll give it a whirl. I also love Audible, it allows me to listen while working in the craftroom. I haven’t yet tried listening while walking ……….


  4. JT Twissel says:

    Sounds like my sort of book. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene says:

    Neil Gaiman is amazing. I haven’t read this one but should.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t read that yet. It does sound as if listening would be easier than reading it. I listen to many books and have written that it is my solution to my husband going to bed so much earlier than I do. He still makes a living(God bless him)while I am retired. So the lights go out, he sleeps, we are warm next to each other, and I listen to books for a couple of hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      That sounds perfect. Sadly while I have the sense of smell, Mrs LP has the hearing and even with headphones on she’d hear something and wouldn’t sleep. And she would begrudge my other spectacular skill which is of the human hot water bottle variety. I often think those two features – she can’t smell and I keep her warm – are what have kept us together these many years. That and the fact she tolerates me repeating the same old stories many times with subtle variations…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Super review, Geoff. I like your description of America. We resemble that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Losing the Plot says:

    Right, so I have actually read this, though not recently. It would have been before my 3 year reading hiatus – so I might be a bit rusty.

    First thing NG had to get past was my prejudice as I love world mythology and when you start pratting about with stuff in a contemporary setting I can get narrow eyed, bored or (much) worse. I am a boring purist. Yawn. So it says something that I (or rather NG) was able to get past this and hold my attention.

    It is really weird. I definitely got lost more than once, but it’s good. Importantly it has a satisfactory outcome though I believe that Shadow’s character is based on Balder and that never really resonated with me successfully.

    Overall, thumbs up.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s encouraging (?) that you still see America as weird, wacky, and wonderful, because I don’t think many of us currently having the experience would choose any of those adjectives to describe it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Ah, yes well I don’t think I can write of a line of experiences that cover those three epithets just because things currently seem to be in another place. I’m sure it will be again.

      Liked by 1 person

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