used to describe the book was fascinating. That’s not the right word to
describe the book. Gaiman is fascinating. As are The Graveyard Book, Coraline,
Stardust, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. American Gods is disturbing, strange, real and not fascinating. I did
like the book then, but not as I should have, because it is a book that would
not make complete sense if it were new to you, or you new to it.
agree with that either. Though loaded with allusions in this book, his writing style is basically direct. His snippets of insight into people and places are universally relatable. But a reader of American Gods should have a knowledge of mythology and
appreciation of storytelling. You can’t afford to be world-weary, rather be world-wise. You cannot be hesitant in your approach to
it and you cannot expect to fall in love with it. American Gods shouldn’t be
your first taste of its genre of dark, bleak humour and whatever you call it. It is a book better read slowly than devoured and best enjoyed on a
second or third reading.
“This is the only country in the world,” said Wednesday, into the stillness, “that worries about what it is.”
“The rest of them know what they are. No one ever needs to go searching for the heart of Norway. Or looks for the soul of Mozambique. They know what they are.”
emphasis on “anything can happen” that makes Gaiman put it all out there – the loud, brazen, dirty seems at times like a
deliberate genre-defining kind of addition, and that’s where American Gods gets on
my nerves. It reads attention-seeking in parts, and by extension, dishonest. The climax,
as with so many books of this great a scope, is a little disappointing. Not
because it isn’t a resolution I wanted, it is. But the writing loses its
lucidity, its clarity towards the end and the finale is a rushed affair.
Someone asked me which my favourite Neil Gaiman book was and I immediately thought of an old man wearing yellow gloves, with a wheezing, cackling laugh and a faint West Indian-ish twang in his voice. Anansi Boys. I am re-reading it right now.
We all know Anansi as the trickster Spider-god brought to America by the African slaves. I first ‘met’ Mr. Nancy in his checkered suit, smoking a thin cigar in Gaiman’s earthbound-deities novel American Gods. And then in Anansi Boys, as the father of Fat Charlie Nancy, the one who spends his entire life chasing women, embarrassing his son, Fat Charlie, and then drops dead on a karaoke stage following a particularly hilarious performance.
Mr. Nancy, the humorous story teller, doesn’t have much stage time in American Gods, but he does have a strong presence. He is fun, and relaxed and has the best lines.
“They don’t look very friendly,” said Nancy. “A story’s a good way of gettin’ someone on your side. And you don’t have a bard to sing to them.”
As for Anansi, well… (I couldn’t say it better if I tried)
“Olden days, all the animals wanted to have stories named after them, back in the days when the songs that sung the world were still being sung, back when they were still singing the sky and the rainbow and the ocean. It was in those days when animals were people as well as animals that Anansi the spider tricked all of them, especially Tiger, because he wanted all the stories named after him.
Stories are like spiders, with all their long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.
What’s that? You want to know if Anansi looked like a spider? Sure he did, except when he looked like a man.
No, he never changed his shape. It’s just a matter of how you tell the story. That’s all.”
The increasing gossip about the American Gods HBO series is making me wonder who they will cast as Mr. Nancy. And despite the numerous online votes for Morgan Freeman, I just don’t see him pull off an Anansi. Speaking of which, I am really looking forward to this series, if there is going to be one, for a lot of the other awesome characters like Laura, Low-key, Mr. Jacquel and Mr. Ibis and Sam Black Crow.
Character Connection is a bookish meme hosted on The Introverted Reader.
Starting with this poem, which I’d first read in a Diana Wynne Jones novel, I spent the better part of a fourteen hour journey reading another simply amazing book by Neil Gaiman; Stardust.
When I was reading Stardust, I was actually transported back to my childhood. It is a fairy tale for adults, and a great one at that!
“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?”
Pointless, really…”Do the stars gaze back?” Now that’s a question.”
Stardust is a fantasy novel written by Neil Gaiman in 1998. It is quite different from his usual books, written in a more traditional fairy-tale-like style.
Stardust is the story of a young man named Tristan Thorn. He lives in Wall, a village situated on the border of our world and the realm of Faerie. The village is separated from Faerie by a long and high wall, which no one crosses. One day a distant star falls down to the earth, and Tristan Thorn sets out into Faerie to retrieve this star for the one he loves. But as fairy tales go, this adventure isn’t very easy, and Tristan Thorn certainly isn’t the only one looking for the star.
“It was a violet, and it chinkled and sang as he held it, making a noise similar to that produced by wetting a finger and rubbing it, gently, around a wineglass.”
I absolutely adored the way this tale was written. I was reminded of a quote from Stephen King’s On Writing – you must be able to describe things in a way that will cause your reading to prickle with recognition. I think Neil Gaiman does just that.
I liked getting to experience another one of Gaiman’s amazingly unique worlds. Faerie is nothing like you expect and everything that you want all at the same time! It is a wonderful play on all the cliches in fantasy. Not to mention, that subtle, makes-you-chuckle humour made this book all the more enjoyable. It’s another Gaiman novel that I’d recommend in a heartbeat!
“As a rule, Fat Charlie felt embarrassment in his teeth, and in the upper pit of his stomach. If something that even looked like it might be embarrassing was about to happen on his television screen Fat Charlie would leap up and turn it off. If that was not possible, say if other people were present, he would leave the room on some pretext and wait until the moment of embarrassment was sure to be over.”
Those of you, who have read American Gods know Mr. Nancy quite well; And, those of you, who haven’t read American Gods, should.
Hasn’t every writer written sometime or another, about writing itself. You know, like the art.
Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle (I wasn’t keen on reading it till I read the last word of the title. Do read the article!):
It is time for yet another book review! The book in question is Good Omens (The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
The world is going to end soon; next Saturday, to be precise, right after tea! Anathema Device is a witch. Newton Pulsifer is a witch hunter. They team up to stop the Apocalypse that the seventeenth century prophetess, Agnes Nutter has predicted in her Nice and Accurate Prophecies (where nice means precise). And they aren’t the only ones.
Crowley the demon and Aziraphale the angel, are representatives of Good and Evil stationed on the earth. As the End-of-Times is nearing, they seem to be in a bit of a mess. Not only have the managed to develop a liking for the earth, but they have also lost the one who is supposed to bring about the Armageddon – the Antichrist (who is an entirely different 11 year old boy from the one they thought was the actual son of Satan!)
While a whole lot of people, including the Four Horsemen (Bikers) of the Apocalypse are out to track the Antichrist, somewhere an 11 year old boy is naively using powers he doesn’t know he possesses to change the world according to his will.
Before you know it, you are transported into a zany, faced-paced, indescribably awesome world, full of characters so surreal; they might as well walk right out of the book. Who knew the Apocalypse would be so funny!
Aziraphale stared out at the rushing hedgerows.
“It all seems so peaceful,” he said. “How do you think it will happen?”
“Well, thermonuclear extinction has always been very popular. Although I must say the big boys are being quite polite to each other at the moment.” said Crowley.
“Asteroid strike?” said Aziraphale. “Quite the fashion these days, I understand. Strike into the Indian Ocean, great big cloud of dust and vapor, goodbye all higher life forms.”
“Wow,” said Crowley.
“Doesn’t bear thinking about it, does it,” said Aziraphale gloomily.
“All the higher life forms scythed away, just like that.”
“Nothing but dust and fundamentalists.”
“That was nasty.”
“Sorry. Couldn’t resist it.”
The book is ‘ineffable’. That’s what it is.