Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is hailed as the author’s best novel, “an intellectual and artistic benchmark.”
My expectations were high when I began reading this book as the premise sounded intriguing and this was my first foray into Gaiman’s work. The story had potential, exploring mythology and metaphorically examining a culture’s fickle tendency to turn from one “god” to the next. However, while the tale is episodic, it lacks cohesion, character development, and follow-through, leaving the reader bored and dissatisfied.
Gaiman’s American Gods could have been an interesting, gripping read, but it fell short on execution and will not be a re-read for me.