The book titled American Gods pdf by Neil Gaiman is a fantasy novel. The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow. In this article, you will be able to freely download American Gods pdf by Neil Gaiman as well as do the following:
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- Characters in American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- Excerpt from the book American Gods
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Summary of American Gods pdf Neil Gaiman
The storm was coming….
Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.
On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose, accepts.
But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and Shadow soon learns that his role in Wednesday’s schemes will be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Entangled in a world of secrets, he embarks on a wild road trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter — all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does.
Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.
All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought — and the prize is the very soul of America.
As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an America at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. Magnificently told, this work of literary magic will haunt the reader far beyond the final page.
About the Author of American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman was born in Hampshire, UK, and now lives in the United States near Minneapolis. As a child he discovered his love of books, reading, and stories, devouring the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Branch Cabell, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Gene Wolfe, and G.K. Chesterton. A self-described “feral child who was raised in libraries,” Gaiman credits librarians with fostering a life-long love of reading: “I wouldn’t be who I am without libraries. I was the sort of kid who devoured books, and my happiest times as a boy were when I persuaded my parents to drop me off in the local library on their way to work, and I spent the day there. I discovered that librarians actually want to help you: they taught me about interlibrary loans.”
Gaiman began his writing career in England as a journalist. His first book was a Duran Duran biography that took him three months to write, and his second was a biography of Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic: The Official Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion. Gaiman describes his early writing: “I was very, very good at taking a voice that already existed and parodying or pastiching it.” Violent Cases was the first of many collaborations with artist Dave McKean. This early graphic novel led to their series Black Orchid, published by DC Comics.
Neil Gaiman is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for children and adults whose award-winning titles include Norse Mythology, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Coraline, and The Sandman graphic novels. He is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR and Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
Vital information About the Book American Gods (Amazon)
- Publisher : William Morrow; 1st edition (June 19, 2001)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0380973650
- ISBN-13 : 978-0380973651
- Lexile measure : 840L
- Item Weight : 1.48 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.12 x 1.45 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #175,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2,863 in Mythology & Folk Tales (Books)
- #4,611 in Fantasy Action & Adventure
- #12,176 in Paranormal & Urban Fantasy (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13,898 ratings
Characters in American Gods pdf by Neil Gaiman
Tis the main protagonist of American Gods. Shadow has many roles. Gaiman has created a character who, by all appearances, seems to be an average, somewhat uninteresting guy. As we read the novel, Shadow’s character become more and more complex and we realize how he is the pivot on which the story turns. It is alluded to that he is a Shaman because he can do things like make it snow, he can see people who are far away in his mind and know what they are doing, he has conversations with a buffalo headed man when he is dreaming, and people tell him several time that he looks Native American.
Near the end of the book, while Shadow is hanging on the World Tree, he has a vision of Wednesday and his mother getting together. Through this vision Shadow discovers that he is Odin’s son. Of all of Odin’s sons it seems most likely that Shadow is Baldr, the “shining God” and the good son. Baldr is the son who’s personality most matches the personality of Shadow. We know he is not Loki the mischievouse, because Loki also appears in the novel as Wednesday’s co-conspirator in the staged war between the old Gods and the new Gods. Baldr was considered to be the image of perfection. Several times throughout the book Shadow catches Wednesday doing something Shadow would consider bad or unfair to someone, and he stops him, or lectures him about doing harm. Shadow proves himself to be very brave when he takes on the burden of hanging from the World Tree to perform Wednesday’s vigil. In the end, Shadow is the one who figures out the two-man con and stops the war. It is also interesting that Shadow’s last name is Moon because Baldr as known as the “shining one” and is associated with the day-time and the sun. Could this be a metaphor that Shadow’s name is representing a shadow of what once was? As if the sun has set on the old Gods, and now they are in their moon phase?
A few of the old Gods that show up in this novel include Odin, Anansi, Chernobog, Ibis and Anubis, Thoth, Bast, Wisakedjak, Shiva, Zorya, Easter, and Kobold. These Gods are Gods of the immigrants. Jesus and the Greek Gods are not represented in this novel. The old Gods are our teachers in many ways. They are meant to teach us how to be good and virtuous, and many of them are meant to teach us what not to be or do. The old Gods are meant to empower us, and teach us of the ways of nature. They represent both the cruelty and the beauty of nature. Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty’s book Hindu Myth is quoted in an introduction to chapter 17.
The New Gods:
These are the the things we worship in contemporary society. The new Gods who show up in this novel are Media, Technology Boy, Mr. World, and several others. When Wednesday is giving a sermon to Shadow and the Old Gods explaining why they should all join the war, he say, “Now, as all of you will have had reason aplenty to discover them for yourselves, there are new Gods growing in America, clinging to growing knots of belief: new gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon. Proud Gods, fat and foolish creatures, puffed up with their own newness and importance.” (123).
In his plea to the old Gods, Mr. Wednesday has given us the most accurate and by far the best portrayal of the new Gods as they are explained by Gaiman. Mr. World is meant to represent the new world culture. It used to be that humanity was centered around small towns, villages or tribes. Now we have a global community. We are connected to that global community through our dependance on the internet and technology.
Excerpt from American Gods pdf by Neil Gaiman
The boundaries of our country, sir? Why sir, onto the north we are bounded by the Aurora Borealis, on the east we are bounded by the rising sun, on the south we are bounded by the procession of the Equinoxes, and on the west by the Day of Judgement.
—“The American” Joe Miller’s Jest Book
Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough, and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.
The best thing—in Shadow’s opinion, perhaps the only good thing—about being in prison was a feeling of relief. The feeling that he’d plunged as low as he could plunge and he’d hit bottom. He didn’t worry that the man was going to get him, because the man had got him. He did not awake in prison with a feeling of dread; he was no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, because yesterday had brought it. It did not matter, Shadow decided, if you had done what you had been convicted of or not. In his experience everyone he met in prison was aggrieved about something: there was always something the authorities had got wrong, something they said you did when you didn’t—or you didn’t do quite like they said you did. What was important was that they had got you. He had noticed it in the first few days, when everything, from the slang to the bad food, was new. Despite the misery and the utter skincrawling horror of incarceration, he was breathing relief.
Shadow tried not to talk too much. Somewhere around the middle of year two he mentioned his theory to Low Key Lyesmith, his cellmate. Low Key, who was a grifter from Minnesota, smiled his scarred smile. “Yeah,” he said. “That’s true. It’s even better when you’ve been sentenced to death. That’s when you remember the jokes about the guys who kicked their boots off as the noose flipped around their necks, because their friends always told them they’d die with their boots on.” “Is that a joke?” asked Shadow. “Damn right. Gallows humor. Best kind there is—bang, the worst has happened. You get a few days for it to sink in, then you’re riding the cart on your way to do the dance on nothing.” “When did they last hang a man in this state?” asked Shadow.
“How the hell should I know?” Lyesmith kept his orange-blond hair pretty much shaved. You could see the lines of his skull. “Tell you what, though. This country started going to hell when they stopped hanging folks. No gallows dirt. No gallows deals.”
Shadow shrugged. He could see nothing romantic in a death sentence. If you didn’t have a death sentence, he decided, then prison was, at best, only a temporary reprieve from life, for two reasons. First, life creeps back into prison. There are always places to go further down, even when you’ve been taken off the board; life goes on, even if it’s life under a microscope or life in a cage. And second, if you just hang in there, some day they’re going to have to let you out. In the beginning it was too far away for Shadow to focus on. Then it became a distant beam of hope, and he learned how to tell himself “this too shall pass” when the prison shit went down, as prison shit always did. One day the magic door would open and he’d walk through it. So he marked off the days on his Songbirds of North America calendar, which was the only calendar they sold in the prison commissary, and the sun went down and he didn’t see it and the sun came up and he didn’t see it. He practiced coin tricks from a book he found in the wasteland of the prison library; and he worked out; and he made lists in his head of what he’d do when he got out of prison.
Shadow’s lists got shorter and shorter. After two years he had it down to three things. First, he was going to take a bath. A real, long, serious soak, in a tub with bubbles in it. Maybe read the paper, maybe not. Some days he thought one way, some days the other. Second he was going to towel himself off, put on a robe. Maybe slippers. He liked the idea of slippers. If he smoked he would be smoking a pipe about now, but he didn’t smoke. He would pick up his wife in his arms (“Puppy,” she would squeal in mock horror and real delight, “what are you doing?”). He would carry her into the bedroom, and close the door. They’d call out for pizzas if they got hungry. Third, after he and Laura had come out of the bedroom, maybe a couple of days later, he was going to keep his head down and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. “And then you’ll be happy?” asked Low Key Lyesmith. That day they were working in the prison shop, assembling bird feeders, which was barely more interesting than stamping out license plates.
“Call no man happy,” said Shadow, “until he is dead.” “Herodotus,” said Low Key. “Hey. You’re learning.” “Who the fuck’s Herodotus?” asked the Iceman, slotting together the sides of a bird feeder, and passing it to Shadow, who bolted and screwed it tight. “Dead Greek,” said Shadow. “My last girlfriend was Greek,” said the Iceman. “The shit her family ate. You would not believe. Like rice wrapped in leaves. Shit like that.” The Iceman was the same size and shape as a Coke machine, with blue eyes and hair so blond it was almost white. He had beaten the crap out of some guy who had made the mistake of copping a feel off his girlfriend in the bar where she danced and the Iceman bounced. The guy’s friends had called the police, who arrested the Iceman and ran a check on him, which revealed that the Iceman had walked from a work-release program eighteen months earlier.
“So what was I supposed to do?” asked the Iceman, aggrieved, when he had told Shadow the whole sad tale. “I’d told him she was my girlfriend. Was I supposed to let him disrespect me like that? Was I? I mean, he had his hands all over her.” Shadow had said something meaningless, like “You tell ’em,” and left it at that. One thing he had learned early, you do your own time in prison. You don’t do anyone else’s time for them. Keep your head down. Do your own time.
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Read Reviews on American Gods pdf by Neil Gaiman
Editorial reviews and praise for American Gods
American Gods is Neil Gaiman’s best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn’t sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he’s been delivering since his Sandman days.
Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow’s dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost–the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.
Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow’s road story is the heart of the novel, and it’s here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book–the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. “This is a bad land for Gods,” says Shadow.
More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country–our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what’s real and what’s not. –Therese Littleton
From Publishers Weekly
Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman’s tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: “gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon.” They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can’t turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss’s recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday’s adversary, Mr. World. At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow’s poignant personal moments and the tale’s affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale’s wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia. (One-day laydown, June 19)Forecast: Even when he isn’t in top form, Gaiman, creator of the acclaimed Sandman comics series, trumps many storytellers. Momentously titled, and allotted a dramatic one-day laydown with a 12-city author tour, his latest will appeal to fans and attract mainstream review coverage for better or for worse because of the rich possibilities of its premise.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In his latest novel, Gaiman (Neverwhere) explores the vast and bloody landscape of myths and legends where the gods of yore and the neoteric gods of now conflict in modern-day America. The antihero, a man of unusually acute intellect through whose eyes we witness the behind-the-scenes dynamics of human religion and faith, is a convict called Shadow. He is flung into the midst of a supernatural fray of gods such as Odin, Anansi, Loki One-Eye, Thor, and a multitude of other ancient divinities as they struggle for survival in an America beset by trends, fads, and constant upheaval an environment not good for gods. They are joined in this struggle by such contemporary deities as the geek-boy god Internet and the goddess Media. There’s a nice plot twist in the end, and the fascinating subject matter and impressive mythic scope are handled creatively and expertly. Gaiman is an exemplary short story writer, but his ventures into novels are also compellingly imaginative. Highly recommended for all libraries. Ann Kim, “Library Journal”Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Shadow, a strong, silent, Steven Seagal type, has kept his head down while doing time for creaming the guys who ran off with his share of a heist. He is about to be released, ticket home in hand, thanks to his lovely wife; then his departure is pushed up a few days–unhappily, so that he can attend her funeral. Weather forces his flight down in St. Louis, and he winds up on a short hop seated next to a mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who informs him that his once and, he had hoped, future boss is also dead. Would he like to work for Wednesday, instead? The guy is too creepy by half but, as it happens, hard to refuse. And after Shadow meets some of Wednesday’s equally creepy friends, becomes an accomplice to a clever bank robbery, and gets coldcocked and kidnapped by black-clad heavies, he acquires a certain job loyalty, if only to find out what he has signed on for–an upcoming battle between the old gods of America’s many immigrants’ original cultures and the new gods of global, homogenizing consumerism. The old gods are trying to live peaceably enough in retirement, which is the predicament Wednesday (i.e., Wotan, or Odin) must overcome to rally them. After two sterling fantasies, the dark Neverwhere (1997) and the lighter, utterly charming Stardust (1999), Gaiman comes a cropper in a tale that is just too busy and, oddly for him, unengaging. His large fandom may make it a success, but many of them, even, will find it a chore to get through. Ray Olson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“American Gods manages to reinvent, and reassert, the enduring importance of fantastic literature itself in this late age of the world. Dark fun, and nourishing to the soul.” — Michael Chabon
“Provocative yet fun . . . Gaiman has applied his vast breadth of knowledge about all things mythological to a truly high concept.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Gaiman returns to the fertile killing ground that nourished The Sandman: that peculiarly American crossroads where pop culture intersects with religion, violence and death.” — Village Voice Literary Supplement
“Immensely rewarding . . . . Suffused with . . . powerful imagery and deftly painted characters . . . . A finely crafted novel of weight and significance [with] poetic descriptions, sharp-eyed criticism, and first-rate storytelling. There is much to enjoy, to admire, and to ponder in this unforgettable tale.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Pointed, occasionally comic, often scary, consistently moving and provocative . . . . American Gods is strewn with secrets and magical visions.” — USA Today
“Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose-American Gods uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages.” — Washington Post
“Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive.” — George R. R. Martin
American Gods is sexy, thrilling, dark, funny and poetic.” — Teller, of Penn & Teller
“American Gods is like a fast run downhill through a maze — both exhilarating and twisted.” — Jane Lindskold, author of Changer.
Reviews from community readers on Goodreads for American Gods by Neil Gaiman pdf
David Monroe. Edited September 18, 2021.
Anybody who tells you that the book is about old and new gods, or about a man named Shadow, or about coin tricks, or about having one’s head smashed in for losing a game of checkers, is selling you a line, because those are just details, not the story itself. Much like any Neil Gaiman story, the devil is in the details, and you just have to resolve yourself to coming along for the ride, or you’ll miss it. It’s not one story, or two, it’s many, and it’s all complete…and you have just to read it, and enjoy it, and accept it. Or don’t bother.
I might as well sell you a violin as sell this book to you, or pluck a synopsis of it from behind your ear and then deposit it in my hand, only to have it turn into a critical review while your attention is elsewhere. But I won’t; you’ll just have to find the magic yourself.
Patrick Rothfuss. Edited January 8th, 2014.
Whenever we have a cold snap here in Wisconsin, I find myself thinking about one of my favorite pieces of American Gods. I remember reading it back in 2002 or so. This was back in the day. Back when it was a bit of a secret that Gaiman lived in Wisconsin. I read the following section of the book nodding to myself, thinking, “Yup, that’s exactly what it’s like. “Then I had another thought: “I bet this comes from that really bad cold snap we had here in Wisconsin about six years ago. “It was pretty cool for me, being able to guess where a this piece of this book got its start….
For those of you who haven’t read it: here’s the excerpt. The main character, Shadow, has just come to a small Wisconsin town, and he decides to walk into town to buy some warmer clothes and groceries.
The cold snap had come, that was for sure. It could not be much above zero, and it would not be a pleasant walk, but he was certain he could make it into town without too much trouble. What did Hinzelmann say last night—a ten-minute walk? And Shadow was a big man. He would walk briskly and keep himself warm. He set off south, heading for the bridge. Soon he began to cough, a dry, thin cough, as the bitterly cold air touched his lungs. Soon his ears and face and lips hurt, and then his feet hurt. He thrust his ungloved hands deep into his coat pockets, clenched his fingers together trying to find some warmth. Step after step after step. He glanced back. The apartment building was not as far away as he had expected. This walk, he decided, was a mistake. But he was already three or four minutes from the apartment, and the bridge over the lake was in sight. It made as much sense to press on as to go home (and then what? Call a taxi on the dead phone? Wait for spring? He had no food in the apartment, he reminded himself).
He kept walking, revising his estimates of the temperature downward as he walked. Minus ten? Minus twenty? Minus forty, maybe, that strange point on the thermometer when Celsius and Fahrenheit say the same thing. Probably not that cold. But then there was wind chill, and the wind was now hard and steady and continuous, blowing over the lake, coming down from the Arctic across Canada. Ten more minutes of walking, he guessed, and the bridge seemed to be no nearer. He was too cold to shiver. His eyes hurt. This was not simply cold: this was science fiction. This was a story set on the dark side of Mercury, back when they thought Mercury had a dark side. This was somewhere out on rocky Pluto, where the sun is just another star, shining only a little more brightly in the darkness. This, thought Shadow, is just a hair away from the places where air comes in buckets and pours just like beer. The occasional cars that roared past him seemed unreal: spaceships, little freeze-dried packages of metal and glass, inhabited by people dressed more warmly than he was. An old song his mother had loved, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” began to run through his head, and he hummed it through closed lips, kept pace to it as he walked. He had lost all sensation in his feet. He looked down at his black leather shoes, at the thin cotton socks, and began, seriously, to worry about frostbite.
This was beyond a joke. This had moved beyond foolishness, slipped over the line into genuine twenty-four-karat Jesus-Christ-I-screwed-up-big-time territory. His clothes might as well have been netting or lace: the wind blew through him, froze his bones and the marrow in his bones, froze the lashes of his eyes, froze the warm place under his balls, which were retreating into his pelvic cavity. Keep walking, he told himself. Keep walking. I can stop and drink a pail of air when I get home…
And that, my friends, is one of the many reasons I love Neil Gaiman…
Bill Kerwin. Edited may 10, 2019.
In this unique love letter to the United States, Gaiman manages to celebrate its underground spiritual traditions, glory in the magnificence of its landmarks, landscapes, and bizarre tourist traps, and–most important–both mourn and venerate its pagan (often immigrant) gods in decline, battered and diminished though they may be by the shallowness and speed of our technological world. The gods are indeed the best part of this very good book: degenerate and threadbare, yet still gods, capable of inspiring both allegiance and terror.
Gaiman loves not only fantasy, but also mystery and horror, and here he has constructed a book which fulfills the genre requirements of all. The plot is complicated and crammed with marvels: the beginning promises pleasures and horrors, the middle disturbs the balance, and the ending surprises and yet satisfies.
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