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onlywords

Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

American Gods - Neil Gaiman If the population of America is comprised of immigrants from all over the world and their descendants, then what about its gods? Sure enough, they are also ancient gods from the immigrants' countries of origins. Shadow Moon, who had just been released from prison to find her wife killed in an accident, gets hired to help a certain Mr. Wednesday and finds himself caught in the middle of a war between the aforementioned folkloric gods and new, modern ones.

I think I would've enjoyed the book more had it been more succinct and to the point. There was too much build up before the actual war between the gods, lots of enigmatic or supposedly prophetic dreams, and numerous mention (or no mention at all, just descriptions) of gods from ancient mythology. If I were a mythology enthusiast I would've been thrilled will this but with my limited knowledge it all merely seemed like a lot of name-dropping. Nevertheless, one must give due credit to Gaiman for his extensive knowledge and research on the subject. I liked the "Coming to America" parts which chronicle the journeys of ancient gods to the US, and sometimes I even prefer these tales than the actual plot mainly because it's new and interesting for me. And as I always found in all of Gaiman's books I've read so far, seemingly random incidents and utterances later became important to solve the puzzle in the story. The book also raises questions of what people believe in, and how their belief can make certain things come true.

"People believe, thought Shadow. It's what people do. They believe. And then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjurations. People populate the darkness: with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe: and it is that belief, that rock-solid belief, that makes things happen."