Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reading Rainbow: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Well, Ryan, I finally read it...

A few weeks ago, I read Coraline, which I found to be entirely enjoyable, but for the obvious reason that it was written for children slightly less than substantial. Not that Coraline was insubstantial, per se, but American Gods was a much meatier read. Richly imbued with characters from myth and folklore, the book was a contemporary fantasy which appealed to me on an even more personal level in that much of the action took place near where I grew up.

Regional favoritism and partiality aside, the ex-con hero, Shadow, and the dark places--both real and surreal--he travels to through the course of the narrative are vividly drawn out by Gaiman. To my delight and relief, Gaiman's prose seldom comes across as overwrought (certainly far less than my own) and is almost entirely engaging. While the first few hundred pages were a bit of a chore for me, due to an increased work schedule, the last 300 pages or so flew by over the course of a few days.

So essentially, if you're interested in a contemporary, adult* fantasy that references Greg Brown, Robert Frost, Tom Waits, and e.e. cummings while intrinsically being about America and its melting pot of cultural influences complete with a largely unpredictable storyline, then American Gods is the book for you.

*And by adult, I mean that there are at times some fairly graphic sexual acts depicted. No, we're not talking the coprophilia and such that got Gravity's Rainbow knocked off the Pulitzer Prize stand, but it is by no means tame, and disturbingly degrades Lucille Ball in "I Love Lucy", which is just weird.

If you're not, then that's cool, too.

I guess.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I know you want to head up to the House on the Rock now. See you there sometime soon, I'll be there all week.

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