Prefered–American Gods (American Gods -1) by Neil Gaiman

American Gods (American Gods #1) by Neil Gaiman (author's preferred text)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Genres and Sub-GenresEdit

Fantasy touching on many genres: 

Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Fantasy-Horror / 

Series Description or Overview Edit

American Gods: Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same. ~ Shelfari

Anansi Boys: Fat Charlie (who isn’t fat) had pretty much the perfect life. A job that he liked, a woman that he loved (let’s forget about the future mother in-law) and life in London far away from his family. However, when his estranged father dies he is compelled to go to his funeral back in Florida. Fat Charlie learns a lot about the father he never knew and about the brother he didn’t know he had. When Fat Charlie accidently calls for his brother, his world is turned upside down. ~ Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman | Best Fantasy Books Blog

Theme Edit

The central precept of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them. Immigrants to the United States brought with them dwarves, elves, leprechauns, and other spirits and gods. However, the power of these mythological beings has diminished as people's beliefs wane. New gods have arisen, reflecting America's obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among others. ~ Shelfari

Books in Series Edit

American Gods:

  1. American Gods (2001)
  2. Anansi Boys (2005)

Shorts, Anthologies and GuidesEdit

  • 1.5. "The Monarch of the Glen" in Legends II (2003), and Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (2006), and eBook 62 pages.

World Building Edit

Settings Edit

  • Book 1: USA America: The action takes place primarily in the United States.

Book 2: London


  • Cairo, Ill: The location of Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jacquel's funeral home, and a place where Shadow spends some time.
  • Lakeside: Shadow will spend some time here.
  • Rock City: A city in Tennessee.
  • Eagle Point, Indiana: This is where Shadow and Laura reside.
  • Chicago, Illinois.
  • House on the Rock: A roadside attraction.
  • Reykjavik, Iceland: Where the postscript takes place.
  • Florida: Where Charlie was born. (Bk 2)
  • Saint Andrews: An island in the Caribbean. (Bk 2)
  • Williamstown: A town in Saint Andrews. (Bk 2)

The Supernatural Elements Edit

Former gods, kobalds, Ifrit (djinn), Leprechaun, Death, animistic magic,

  • Mythologies: Norse, Egyptian, Native American, African, Celtic, Slavic and dozens of others


  • Kobold: a sprite stemming from Germanic mythology. Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialise in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a candle. The most common depictions of kobolds show them as humanlike figures the size of small children. 
  • Ifrit: Fiery Jinn of Arabic origin
  • Absatively: A combination of the words 'absolutely' and 'positively', frequently used by Grahame Coats

World Edit

✥ Many gods were brought to the America’s by ancient tribes and travelling peoples, now find their very existences threatened as belief in technology and the media become the religion of modern capitalist America. Along the way Shadow meets some very strange, exotic and intoxicating people; gods of death and goddesses of sex, bringers of the night and guardians of peace and prosperity. Gaiman dots short and beautifully written chapters throughout the book in which we see these gods land upon American shores, we learn how they are born and what powers they have and the meaning they bring to their people; and then just to show us how impotent they have become we are thrown back into the frigid winter of modern North America where gods must survive on cash machine heists and taxi drivers wages. - See more at: Best Fantasy Books Blog

✥ Shadow, however, hasn’t yet realized that he’s stumbled into a kind of underground, a loosely connected network of burned-out, down-on-their-luck deities, the remnants of every god, godling or other supernatural being that any person who ever set foot in America has ever believed in. Their circumstances are, to say the least, reduced: Wednesday, who used to be a contender, ekes out a living by running cons on inattentive clerks and bank customers — “hereabouts” being Cairo, Ill. ~

Protagonists Edit

✥ Fresh from doing three years in prison for a stupid crime, he learns that his beloved wife, Laura, is dead, killed in a car accident with his best friend, the guy who’d promised him a job when he got out. To make matters worse, he has a series of unsettling encounters with a persistent older gentleman in a pale suit. Each meeting seems to be the result of extravagantly improbable chance, and the gentleman, who offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard, just won’t take no for an answer. ~

✥ Shadow is, quite simply, kind. He is a good natured and thought provoking character who seems simply to wander through the book experiencing things that would have most terrified or inescapably perplexed. Shadow however has a slow and gentle intensity to him which is heartbreakingly endearing. He finds himself, silently wracked with grief over his wife and working for a mysterious Mr Wednesday who drags Shadow all across America recruiting all manner of exocentric men and women. Shadow begins to have strange dreams that seem so real yet are impossible by day light, he finds himself seeing into ancient civilisations and, almost without meaning to, trying to understand the nature of faith and belief. ~ Best Fantasy Books Blog

Charles Anansi: a sweet but easily mortified nebbish trying to eke out a humble existence as an administrative worker in London. He’s been saddled with the (unfitting) nickname of Fat Charlie by his charming rascal of a father, a supporting character in “American Gods” and — unbeknownst to Fat Charlie — also the West African and Caribbean trickster god Anansi. Fat Charlie will learn that he has a much cooler brother, Spider, who has inherited all of Mr. Anansi’s powers and prankish habits. When their father keels over dead in a karaoke bar, Spider descends upon his brother’s tidy life and becomes the houseguest from hell, moving in on Fat Charlie’s fiancée and stirring up trouble at work. Fat Charlie enlists the help of some aged ladies in the family’s former stomping grounds in Florida, and winds up invoking menacing, unpredictable entities who soon turn out to be even more destructive than Spider. 

Recurring Characters Edit

Sources: American Gods Series ~ Shelfari

American Gods — Characters
Characters What About
Shadow newly released prisoner after a bizarre chain of events with the supernatural, he gets a job as gopher for Mr. Wednesday
Mr. Wednesday has supernatural powers An ancient and powerful god brought to America by early Viking settlers who were wiped out before their faith could truly flourish; leaving Wednesday, Odin, to flounder in a faithless world; revealed to be a God
Laura Moon Shadow's wife Shadow's wife who calls him "Puppy". They meet on a blind date, arranged by friends. Shadow kissed her good night and after that, "He never wanted to kiss anyone else."
Mister Nancy Mr. Wednesday's associate to whom Shadow was introduced
Mr. Hinzelmann small town man always there to help the citizens with various things; answers Shadow's questions;
Mad Sweeney Leprechaun who can pull gold out of thin air; accidentally pulled the sun out and given it to Shadow
Samantha Black Crow Hitchhiking co-ed Shadow befriends on the way to Cairo, IL
Chad Mulligan Sheriff of Lakeside
Whiskey Jack Native American god Wisakedjak, a Trickster type
Mr. Czernobog Slavic black god Carries a big hammer and promises to kill Shadow with it. In Chicago, he plays checkers with Shadow
Mike Ainsel Shadow's name given to him by Wednesday while he stayed in Lakeside
Mr. World He is the one that leads the new gods
Robbie Burton Shadow's best friend Owner of the Muscle Farm where Shadow has a job waiting for him once his time in prison is up. died in car wreck with Shadow's wife
Mr. Ibis Co-owner of a funeral parlor in Cairo, Illinois
Mr. Jacquel Anubis, god of the afterlife weighs the worthiness of the deceased. He is the town coroner and runs the funeral parlor with Ibis
Marguerite Olsen Shadow's neighbor in Lakeside writer for the local newspaper. Sam Black Crow's sister
Bilquis Queen of Sheba posing as a prostitute
Natalie Sam's friend and lover
Low Key Lyesmith Shadow's cell colleague

To expand the table, right-press or (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add row.

For more: American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Anansi Boys — Characters
Fat Charlie
Mr. Nancy
Rosie Charlie’s fiancé
Spider hitherto unknown brother summoned via animistic magic; steals Charlie’s fiancé
Grahame Coats “weasel”-like entrepeneur-embezzler Charlie’s blackhearted boss;
Tiger Spider (Anansi) tricked

Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman. Photograph: Graeme Robertson


Neil Gaiman

Author Edit

Neil Gaiman

Bio: Neil Gaiman wrote the award-winning graphic novel series The Sandman, and with Terry Pratchett, the award-winning novel Good Omens. His first book for children, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean, hasn't yet won any awards, but was one of Newsweek's Best Children's Books of 1997. Angels & Visitations, a small press story collection, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and won the International Horror Critics Guild Award for Best Collection, despite not having any horror in it. Well, hardly any. Born in England, he now makes his home in America, in a big dark house of uncertain location where he grows exotic pumpkins and accumulates computers and cats. ~ Neil Gaiman ~ FF

Cover ArtistEdit

Artist: Kamil Vojnar

Many more—Source: American Gods - Series Bibliography

Other Contributors Edit

  • Audio Book Narrator: — Source:
  • Editor: — Source:

Cover ArtistEdit

Artist: Kamil Vojnar

Many more—Source: American Gods - Series Bibliography

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher:
  • Author Page:
  • Bk-1:

~ All versions:

  • Bk-2:

~ All versions:

Book Cover Blurbs Edit

BOOK ONE BLURB—American Gods (2001): Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming -- a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path.

One of the most talked-about books of the new millennium, American Gods is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an American landscape at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. It is, quite simply, a contemporary masterpiece. ~ Neil Gaiman - Books > American Gods — Excerpt

BOOK TWO BLURB—Anansi Boys (2005): Neil Gaiman gives us a mythology for a modern age -- complete with dark prophecy, family dysfunction, mystical deceptions, and killer birds. Not to mention a lime.

Anansi Boys
God is dead. Meet the kids.

When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.

Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times bestseller, American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny -- a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him." ~ — Author's site, Excerpt

First Sentences Edit

  1. American Gods: Shadow had done three years in prison.
  2. Anansi Boys: It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

Quotes Edit

Read Alikes (suggestions) Edit

Awards Edit

Book 1—American Gods:

  • Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel (2001)
  • Hugo Award for Best Novel (2002)
  • Nebula Award for Best Novel (2002)
  • Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2002)
  • International Horror Guild Award Nominee for Best Novel (2001)
  • World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel (2002)
  • SFX Award for Best Novel (2002)
  • Geffen Award (2003)
  • Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Adult Literature (2002)
  • Prix Bob Morane for roman traduit (2003)

Book 2—Anansi Boys (2005):

  • Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2006)
  • Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature (2006)
  • ALA Alex Award (2006)
  • British Fantasy Award for Best Novel (2006)

~ Source: Goodreads

Trivia Edit

Notes Edit

See Also Edit

External References Edit


Summaries, Reviews, Articles:

World, Characters, etc:






Gallery of Book Covers Edit

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