“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
It is almost like the question to be or not to be? Who knows, embark upon the journey of a postmodern exploration as Gaiman hits nails on the head again merging fantasy with reality and forever proving to imagine does not mean to ever forget the subterfuge that threatens of the very edges of our society than more often than not bogged down by everyday life, we forget all too easily.
Gaiman has captured an ever prevailing question hinging on our teet as the technological impotence of our instantaneous gratification culture wains at the very understanding of what is worth and value anymore, when it seems like nothing really exists truly now?
He explores as ever a vast expanse of human emotion, greed and desperation in the trickery of the old and new gods fighting hard to survive in a world that no longer holds belief or revels in the hysteria of mystery, legend and of idols. We are all the fans of the falsities now.
Gaiman brutal in his exposure of the human soul does what only his penmanship can ever really do to such acute knowledge where he pinpricks at our skin with his never ending question in such engaging and thrilling literature.
He grips us in a battle that while captured in the fantastical creations of his fantastical dimension, is also the same battle we all have in our own minds everyday. As ever with his stories I find it a struggle to see where my identity begins and his story ends.
As typical to all Gaiman’s stories it is wrought in a rich intellectual history of mythology, oh how fine a tapestry doth he sow in his wonder to regale that good old word of mouth really is carried our moral and humane soul, played out constantly time and time again in age old narratives.
It is haunting and heart warming and as per usual riddles wrapped in conundrums and keeps you hooked to the very last page where you then swear at yourself for having read through it so fast in the first place.
I can easily say this is one of my most favourite of Gaiman’s works, and often I am at too much of a disadvantage to choose between them.
The plot: The stories follows main character Shadow, just released from prison he learns of the death of his wife Laura, lost and with no where to go he is headhunted by the mysterious Mr Wednesday who offers him a job as his bodyguard in some long raging war that sees Shadow enter the invisible and long forgotten world of the gods.
As they tour America the plot becomes more twisted and Shadow begins to learn he is just one of many faces been used as a pawn of Mr Wednesday’s own selfish act. The story takes him to many deep twisted roads and on meeting a variety of weird and wonderful characters Shadow is forced to face his own demons and learn more of his own history than he bargained for.
As per usual it is hard to distinguish in Gaiman’s novels who are the true heroes and villains, for as per usual there aren’t really any, after all who better tells the grey tale of humanity better than him.
In the light of the TV adaptation soon to hits screens after must anticipation, it is definitely worth picking up the book if you haven’t done so already, to prepare and familiarise yourself with a plot that will soon very much become your new obsession.
You will also find yourself with a new found ambition to want to visit The House on the Rock!