2011. I attempted to read: the author’s “preferred text” or Tenth Anniversary Edition, comprising 541 pages — complete with postscripts, acknowledgements, and appendix.
Okay, I made it to page 285.
I will freely admit I have no idea of what this book was about or what Gaiman was trying to tell us. Can I change the focus of this blog to be Guardian 1,000 novels I attempt to read? If I give them an honest try?
Because I will state that I certainly tried with this book. I slogged through it. I thought about it when I wasn’t trying to read it. It haunted me a bit when I dropped asleep after plodding through a couple of pages at bed time.
What I got out of it was this: the people who came to America — or were forced to come to America — brought their gods with them. Or perhaps, the gods followed the people. So, Odin (Mr. Wednesday, get it?), Thunderbird, the Easter bunny, Anansi, and all their ilk are still with us and they are sad and unhappy that they are no longer worshiped as is their due. A human being, Shadow, who just got out of prison is hired by Wednesday to be a kind of body guard and bouncer. Shadow has his own troubles seeing that his beloved wife, Laura, died just as he was released from prison. Unfortunately, Laura keeps coming back from the dead to communicate with and try to help Shadow. For there is a war of some kind brewing between the gods, or the forces of whatever. And somehow this is about America…..
And that’s it for me. I found this book unpleasant, unsettling and worse of all — boring. I also know by now that a spot on the Guardian list is no assurance that I will enjoy it. But life is too short, and the Guardian list too long for me to stay stuck on one book — no matter the accolades it has received. Did anyone else out there love this one? What did it say to you?