Sunday, August 9, 2009

American Gods

I've finished Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

There was a lot of urination in that book. Lots of scenes of characters peeing. Both indoors and outdoors, both male and female. And it seems right. The myths that Gaiman mined do not shy away from descriptions of bodily functions.

I'm going to admit that I'm not a long-time Gaiman fan. I know he's got legions of adoring fans, but I've never read his graphic novels. A few years back I read Neverwhere. It was interesting enough, and it held my attention, but it didn't make a tremendous impression on me. More like "Eh, that was nice."

American Gods, on the other hand, while it took roughly a hundred pages to really draw me in, once it got going it had me securely in its grip. And when I finished, I felt sublime awe at what Gaiman had created. He crafted a world and characters that seem much bigger than the novel's four-hundred-and-some-odd pages. Now I know why the man's got himself such legions of fans.

Gaiman, this British guy, came over to the US and focused on flyover country - he took Wisconsin and downstate Illinois and rural Georgia and made it an improbably believable setting for larger-than-life myths, and he did it without ever taking the role of the educated foreigner pouring out condescension for the American midwest. I liked that - I respected that.

Anyway, yeah, I liked it, and if Gaiman ever finds this post by searching for his name, congrats on winning the Hugo for The Graveyard Book a couple of hours ago.

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