I’m having a little trouble with Android Karenina unfortunately, and in the meantime knocked out an excellent book by one of my favorite authors.
Week 3: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
Point 1: I love this book. It’s dark and full of fairy tales, history, mythology, philosophy, sociology, and nonsense, while also being utterly serious when it’s joking. A lot of books these days try to play on clichés and stereotypes by being campy, but Gaiman manages to avoid all that while still using stereotypes and clichés, sometimes as they were intended, sometimes not. He keeps you on your toes, this one.
Point 2: This is the second time I’ve read this book. It won’t be the last. I definitely recommend reading it more than once. Read it, put it down for a few months/a year, then read it again; especially if you’re like me and you rush through in a mad dash to find out what happens. American Gods is one of those books you want to pay attention to while you read; little clues about each character open up all sorts of possibilities about their origins. Some characters he explains sufficiently, but many he leaves vague, as is appropriate for the themes inherent in the book. What are gods, really? Can we ever properly define them if they are amalgamations of our beliefs?
Point 3: (Could really be a sub-point of 2) This is not a nice, neat plot and ending. Let me be clear, here; Gaiman doesn’t leave a bunch of plot holes dangling in the wind. He’s a better writer than that. He does, however, allow you to interpret some of the specifics to your own satisfaction. Being American, I’m accustomed to being bludgeoned over the head with themes, characters’ thoughts, moralities, etc. Gaiman prefers to leave things a bit vague, which annoys me just the tiniest bit, as I want to know everything about everything and have all my questions answered. Given the subject, the vagueness is thematically appropriate, and it simply makes me think I’ve missed something and ought to re-read it. Again.
Point 4: If you haven’t read anything by Neil Gaiman, you should. Soon.
Point 5: (Reiteration.) I love this book. I love this author.
Anansi Boys just made it onto my list for the challenge, as I’ve only read it once. I think there might be a number of Gaiman’s books crossing my path this year. Again.