Book Reviews, Discussion Guides, and Wine-Book Pairings
“Call no man happy until he is dead. Herodotus.” Mr. Nancy raised a white eyebrow, and he said, “I’m not dead yet, and, mostly because I’m not dead yet, I’m happy as a clamboy.” “The Herodotus thing. It doesn’t mean that the dead are happy,” said Shadow. “It means that you can’t judge the shape of someone’s life until it’s over and done.”
American Gods is an epic story that does something no other story has done: it describes the life-cycle of a god. In other words, the life-cycle of a system of beliefs. Gaiman weaves this concept into the story of Shadow, a man released a few days early from his prison sentence when his wife dies in a car accident. Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday on the plane ride home, a man who has an uncomfortable familiarity with Shadow’s life. When he is lured into making a compact with Mr. Wednesday, the story takes off—and we are introduced to a cast of characters, human and god. Shadow find himself in the middle of their conflict…and he must choose a side to survive. American Gods is a fascinating, engrossing novel on what it means to believe in something. Gaiman’s original story asks and answers questions you’ve never dreamed of: what happens to the gods, demons, and fairies when the people who believe in them come to America? How do they survive when people no longer believe in them? American Gods is a glimpse of the many different cultures represented in America as we follow Shadow and Mr. Wednesday on a great American tradition—the road trip!