October 15, 2001
MarkBernstein.org
 

American Gods

American Gods
Neil Gaiman

Shadow, finally out of prison, heads home to his wife's funeral and an unexpected job offer from a man who says, "Seeing as today's my day, you can call me Wednesday." The Old Gods walk abroad, trying to scrounge a living in a land where gods never thrive; they live on the streets or in coldwater flats, and their places of power are roadside attractions. The cat Bastet, in Cairo Illinois, reminds Shadow that "my people have been keeping an eye on you", and a fortune telling machine in Wisconsin tells him

"Your lucky number is none. Your lucky color is dead. Motto: like father, like son."

Easily Gaiman's best novel to date, in part because Shadow is neither cute nor clueless. A delightful puzzle book, and a strange look at the spirit of middle America from far away.