i need to say a few words about my travel companion – neil gaiman’s award-winning novel, “american gods”.
it’s basically about shadow, a man who is released from prison only to find out that his wife’s dead and he doesn’t have a job waiting for him either because his best friend’s dead too. then a stranger comes along and offers him a strange job, pulling him into a world that he never knew could exist.
when i put up a photograph of all the books i have bought but have yet to read, this novel received the most votes. i have a suspicion it’s because i have more friends who are fans of neil gaiman than anything else. anyway, i listened to the voice of the people and brought this monster of a novel with me on my travels. besides, i liked the irony of a book on americana as my companion through the united kingdom too. thanks, you know who you are.
the winning factor for this book is undoubtedly gaiman’s skill as a story-teller. having read “anansi boys”, “stardust” and the first few volumes of the “sandman” graphic novels, i’d already known that he can spin a tale. it was what kept me captivated for 300+ pages on my flight to london. the plot, however, leaves much to be desired.
to tell the truth, the storyline in the first half of the novel was dull. it progressed much too slowly and there was zero character development. all it had was gaiman’s style and while it was enough for me to keep turning the pages, it left me unsatisfied.
the book could have been alot shorter and i guess it was, considering the edition i read was the “author’s preferred text”. i should read the first edition and compare the two – it would probably be a valuable lesson in the significance of good editing.
anyway, i would still recommend the novel to anyone who’d like a first taste of neil gaiman. from what the fans have told me, it’s definitely not his finest work – there’s “neverwhere”, which would have been a more suitable book to bring on a tour of britain – and i’m excited to read more from him in the (near?) future.