I’ve been reading… ‘American Gods’

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one, but I’d enjoyed ‘Anansi Boys’ and Waterstones had a 3-for-2 offer…

Shadow gets out of prison a few days early and is offered a rather vaguely defined job by a strange man who is soon revealed to be the god Odin. That’s roughly how it starts, anyway, and I don’t want to give too much away. I mean, it’s not a bad way to open a book, is it? The book is basically built on the question ‘When immigrants moved from their homelands to America, what happened to their gods?’ and takes it from there…

It’s unnerving, scary, tender, smart and mostly really quite eerie. Gaiman has the incredible knack of taking a scene from an ordinary everyday experience to somewhere really quite other, often in just the one paragraph, and in such a way that the gear-change is imperceptible. And if I was in any doubt after Anansi Boys and Good Omens (which I wasn’t, but reading this really brought it into focus) Gaiman is a bloody good writer.

If you like anything Terry Pratchett has written, you’ll like this, although the similarity is with the imaginative invention rather than the terrible puns and ridiculous humour.

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