I could try and tell you what American Gods is about. But I would be lying if I told you I know. I could google it, try to find out if Gaiman’s book is about erosion of belief and its ephemeral quality. I could try and find someone smarter than me who wrote an essay about how Gaiman examines the nature of American belief system, but I won’t. Maybe this was Gaiman’s attempt to build an American pantheon. I don’t know. I believe there are books for which plot and „what’s it about“ are irrelevant. For me, American Gods is all about how it made me feel. And it made me feel good.
American Gods is at home, wherever it goes. Whether it is a mortuary, a freezing hotel room, hell or purgatory – it’s home. It feels somehow good and somehow right, being in this world or the other – in American Gods it all makes sense. Dead people walking the Earth is nothing to get worked up about. It’s there. It happens, and if it happens there’s a reason. American Gods is free of any form of judgement and in it there’s a prevailing sense of peace, purposefulness and understanding – whether it’s a warm spring afternoon or a bloodbath brought about by selfishness.
This book is different from pretty much anything I read, and that fact alone pleases me beyond words. To realize there’s something original, something different which has been written in the 21st century, by a living, breathing author makes me happy as hell. Sure, maybe the originality I got from American Gods is a result from my lack of reading similar literature, but for me, it is different and original. It’s dark in a sweet way, it’s amusing and funny in a sinister way and it shows a deep love and understanding towards the human race (and beyond) which I have rarely encountered (Le Guin shows a similar, dark and foreboding love for the race).
I admit, I am at a loss as to what Gaiman wanted to achieve with this book. I have no idea what was the point and which message he tried to convey. Maybe that makes me a stupid, lousy reader. Maybe the fact that I find Gaiman’s intentions completely irrelevant makes me an idiot. Maybe, just maybe, I am an asshole because the feel of American Gods is enough for me.
Also, it seems there is a TV series in the making – don’t know how I feel about that, I will know once I give it a whirl.