American Gods, the novel

This article is also available in: Italiano

To start the week dedicated to books, we take you to the USA, between speeches on faith and remembrance. American Gods immediately proved to be an unexpected pearl, a journey as deep as it is surprising in one of the most primordial concepts of man. This book also reveals the profound presence of the Middle East and not only in the USA, a unique source of inspiration if you love mythology.

American Gods

After three years in prison, Shadow is about to return to freedom when he learns of the mysterious death of his wife and his best friend. On the plane that takes him home, the man receives a job offer from a rather enigmatic type, Mister Wednesday: Shadow accepts, but he will still need some time to find out who his boss really is, who his companions are. business and who its competitors.

Journey into migrant deities

The novel takes the reader to a hidden America, hidden partly by fear and partly by the exhaustion of memory, a fundamental theme throughout the book. Neil Gaiman urges the reader to reevaluate the history of the States, trying to imagine what happened before the arrival of Colombo.

American Gods
Cairo, in Illinois

In American Gods we try to imagine the thousand peoples who, for one reason or another, have happened in the US, sometimes leaving only a trace: their idols and divinities. This is the greatest trace of the human being: faith, a characteristic present in any people since the dawn of time. If you want to continue know that you will find spoilers, the book brings too interesting themes to not even mention it. In the future there will also be an article on the series which, we assure you, has very different tones.

Faith for the survival of the god

Faith and memory are the main themes of the whole work, staged with patience and with a crescendo of intensity. We are immediately asked a fundamental question: “what makes a divinity and a cult alive or not?”. The answer can only be faith, put by Gaiman in very different subjects. In fact, the author chooses to detach himself as much as possible from the monotheistic faiths, going rather to select the “ancient faiths”, now mostly transformed into mythology, and the modern ones, linked to the media.

American Gods
Anansi, the spider god typical of West Africa

In the novel, in fact, the range of action of the “traditional faiths” is widened, reasoning on the mere time that we dedicate to everything. Over and over, in fact, we will be told how, nowadays, audiovisual devices are the real masters of our time, undermining what was originally the time of faith.

Gods of the New World

The whole novel is built as an initiatory journey in which Shadow Moon, our protagonist, will have to have faith to understand what is around him, who will find himself over and over again in the midst of real ancient gods. The same Mr. Wednesday will prove to be immediately the legendary god Odin, sort of Virgil for Dante, his companion in the hidden world of the “migrants”.

American Gods
The legendary Queen of Sheba

It will be here that Neil Gaiman will show us some of the most incredible divinities in the world, many of them originating in the Middle East. The author has no problem admitting the possibility of unsuspected “arrivals” such as Egyptians or whatever, but, most likely, it would never have been worth returning. Not to mention the deities brought by African slaves such as, for example, Anansi, the spider god, or by simple migrants in love with their ancient legends. The panorama of divinity is impressive and we will move from biblical characters such as “The Queen of Sheba” to other absolutely pagan ones such as the Slavic “Chernobog”. An incredible journey into the forgotten history of the United States, with a lot of Middle East in the background to a novel that investigates the most primary mysteries of man.

Tomorrow we continue the book week with Mahmoud Darwish‘s “The Gambler”. Follow us on our facebook, YouTube and Instagram page, every like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to dedicate ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East.

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