After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the days, then the hours, then the seconds until his release tick away, he can feel a storm building. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in apparently adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr. Wednesday, claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god, and the king of America.
Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But they are being pursued by someone with whom Shadow must make his peace.... Disturbing, gripping, and profoundly strange, Neil Gaiman's epic new novel sees him on the road to finding the soul of America.
©2001 Neil Gaiman (P)2012 Headline Digital
"Gaiman is a treasure house of story and we are lucky to have him." (Stephen King)
With the impending release of Neil Gaiman's new audiobook - 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' (18th June 2013) - I thought it was worth quickly reviewing the best of his previous novels. Although Anansi Boys is great (especially once you get used to Lenny Henry doing the narration), American Gods remains his greatest novelistic and audiobook achievement.
The story starts with Shadow getting out of prison a day early due to tragic circumstances. What follows is an odyssey into the heartland of America and the Gods who live there. While the book itself is a great read, the audio version really brings the text to life - Shadow's dry sense of humour; Wednesday's mischievousness. It's so good I'm actually envious of those people who have not yet had the pleasure of downloading it - if you're one of these people, download it NOW! You won't regret it.
On a similar fantasy-related / magical-reality theme, I would also heartedly recommend the Peter Grant novels by Ben Aaronovitch - the everyday tell of your average bobby becoming the last apprentice of English magic. It is simply one of the best narrated books on Audible. Warning: be careful where you listen, however, you will undoubtedly get strange looks due to your laughing.
Read this many years ago and have just finished it on audiobook - it's still as brilliant as I remember and actually better because Neil Gaiman has put stuff back into it. Very well read too - it feels as though a great deal of care and attention was paid to make sure the detail is spot on. I think this is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to.
This was a book that was recommended to me by my Mum (who loved it) a few years ago, and I must admit it has been a few months since I actually listened to it, but it is one of those stories that sticks with you. I have found myself, often thinking about the characters in it and certain points of the book.
Neil Gaiman is a brilliant story teller and this one certainly doesn't disappoint. The characters, even though they are at the edges of plausible, are utterly believable and on the whole very likeable.
If you like the weird and wonderful, stories about journeys and self-discovery, and gods, this is a great book.
Mother of three, Nana of one. Self-employed from home so Audible is invaluable, particularly when walking the dog.
I suppose this is a road trip book of sorts. And a book about belief. As would be expected from a Neil Gaiman book it's a tad surreal and it leaves a taste in the brain. On a trip to the States years after first reading it I came across road signs for the House On The Rock and had to visit, my pilgrimage, pay my respects. It was quite as bonkers as I'd imagined.
The narration and the voices, most particularly Shadow (the main character), are perfect. It flows like honey and captivates quite as much as the words did upon first reading.
I dance around and sing a song and know that I can do no wrong.
I am a Neil Gaiman fan, so I'd pretty much bought into the writing style and the nature of the story up front. However, I think this is the book in which he gets everything right. It's a big book, but it's full of story, so it manages to pretty much sprint the marathon. There wasn't a time where I felt it lacked pace, or had to sit through setup text.
The characters are flawed, but completely engaging. I found myself so interested in some of the gods that I would pause the story to do a little research.
The narration is excellent and Neil's additions only add to tale.
Good but not great. The Ocean at the End of Lane is a superior narrative and much more cohesive and engaging
The narrative is very rambling - and the interludes (which I imagine were cut from the first edition book) break up the already baggy narrative. When the threads come together it is satisfying enough
Given how beautifully Neil Gaiman writes, I was disappointed that this is too indulgent and therefore only patchily gripping.
Absolutely brilliantly read - comes across like a play. The best narration of an audio book that I have heard
Magical in places but overall impact greatly reduced by the indulgent bagginess
I highly recommend the Ocean at the End of Lane and this is good but just too long
I last listened to a Neil Gaiman children's book which I loved and happened to mention to my daughter. She recommended this. It is definitely not a children's book, there are fantastic images which will stay in my head forever. Somehow the unacceptable and unusual become the norm. The book raised questions I'd never asked before.
Great experience. I think it did for me what the Hobbit did at age 10 and Titus Groan in my 20s. It is not How Green Was My Valley.
I hadn't read the book itself in a long while and noticed it on here so thought id give it a go. Still a great book and a really good audio book too!
Gripping tale filled with believable and engaging characters. It is clear that this was a work of love for Gaiman, one of my favourite books of all time.
I mostly listen to fantasy and sci-fi, but really I just like a good yarn.
Reading the description I didn't think I would like this and fully expected to be returning it before the end. I only tried it because I loved stardust so much that I figured it was worth a gamble.
Turns out I was hooked within about 10 minutes!
I was intrigued, I really liked the main character and some of the other characters (Anansi might be my favourite) and felt intrigued about the less likeable characters.
I loved how all of the little sub plots knitted together and I honestly didn't see what was coming until right before it happened.
"A Benchmark Title"
An absolute modern classic book evolves into an absolute modern classic audiobook. Gaiman is one of my favourite authors (write more, damn you!) and American Gods is maybe his finest work. This is pretty much my favourite audiobook thus far.
"Strange, slow moving, story"
The characters in American Gods are interesting and the reading performance is superb. American Gods deals with the weird, the strange, and the unreal - all of which I like. However, I also like stuff to actually happen, and this novel kept me waiting too long between the main events. The plot was too slow moving for my liking. It kept me interested until the end, but only barely.
Yes. Fascinating story, brilliant narration. What is not to like?
Master and Margarita. The only theme the two books share is of God/Devil doing crazy things in our world. Other than that, they are very different.
I loved the scenes involving Mr. Ibis.
Spolier - Wednesday's death. I did not see that coming, and it left me feeling sad. I kept hoping it is a mistake, maybe the author will bring him back. He did in a sense, but not in the same way.
Kudos to the narrator. I have become a fan.
"Audio verses reading"
Im learning about the medium of audio books and It reminds me of radio plays when i was young. This is a different reading experience, and this book would have been slightly better for me in print, in order to follow the characters involved. Apart from that excellent in all respects, an inspired writer.
I like the believable blend of reality and fantasy - Like George McDonald (?) C S Lewis
"Great book, read expertly"
Totally. American Gods is one of my favourite books, which is brought to life in this edition by Guidall.
"Perfection in Story Telling"
This book is one that will be recommended to anyone and everyone I think holds any interest in fantasy, mystery, superheroes, horror or just the peculiar and interesting.
Most mystery novels lack the ability to be read more than once. Not so with this book. There is so much that goes into this book, knowing the end would not distract from the powerful imagery, depth of exploration into myth, and the gripping character relationships. So much happens in this book that one listen would not be enough. I genuinely loved every moment of this well told story.
The reading is spot on that provides the right pacing for the story.
Remove your shoes, this theatre is sacred ground.
"An interesting tale and well read"
This is an interesting story and the narration is very well done. However I did not find the story to be moving and once over the initial premise it just plods along at a relaxed pace. So yes it was good, but not the brilliance I was expecting from the other reviews.
American Gods has been an amazing book since the day it was published, but this 10th anniversary production has resulted in the best audiobook I have ever heard. Perfect narrators, flawless character voices, seamless production - all doing justice to as rich a story and set of characters as you could ever hope for - set in the beatifully crafted attic spaces of America that those of us who don't live there love to read about and imagine. Thank you Mr. Gaiman and all those who put this production together, this is a new standard in audiobooks and it has made my life richer.
Tight plot, great characters, very Neil Gaiman, some are definitely warped and disgusting, the bad guys/good guys interplay is clever, the spiritual journey personified, America is mocked in an offbeat way and as always Mr Gaiman, thank you for the magic.
"The best book I have ever listened to"
This book was totally captivating. It is flawlessly constructed and very clever, without being unaccessably highbrow. Often when listening to audiobooks my mind will drift off elsewhere, but that didn't happen once during American Gods which is a huge compliment to the quality of Neil Gaiman's writing.
Adding to the experience was the excellent performance of the narrator, George Guidall, whose voice for each character perfectly captured every one. I will be looking for more books where he has been the narrator - just excellent!
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