Published June 2011 by William Morrow.
Consider telling a story filled with a certain level of uniqueness and peculiarity that is not particularly far-fetched. It’s a noble feat, but Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, delivers a precise sense of magic that feels both strange yet familiar.
You may not find Gaiman’s novel on any current bestsellers lists – the original text was first published in 2001, so I’m a bit late to the party – but if you’ve never delved into this kind of fiction before, it feels ever so much like a timeless breath of fresh air. On my first foray into the story, I chose Gaiman’s Preferred Text, so while I can’t comment so much on the difference with the original version, I can still confidently say that this is nothing short of a masterpiece.
In his own style, Gaiman escorts you alongside the intriguing excursion of a man named Shadow. Only just been released from prison, he is faced with a terrible tragedy that haunts him through to the end. That’s before finding himself in the presence of a man who chooses to call himself Wednesday, who of course appears to know a lot more than he lets on. Fumbling his way through obscure errands, Shadow encounters a vast array of godly characters that are making their way in this earthly world. It all culminates in an intriguing climax, leaving this reader with newfound horizons on what it means to experience a classic.
Such can be the nature of a fantastic story: it need not be bound by worldly realities, free instead to the creative liberties that charm and enchant.
Purchase American Gods (preferred text) from the Book Depository.
Cover art sourced from William Morrow.