Saturday, November 18, 2017

Neil Gaiman "American Gods"

Why are some books become classics? What makes the book interesting? I guess every author wants to know answers to these question. Despite there is no formula for success, years of studying literature gave us some principles on which successful books are made. One of it (and the most important) is that attention of your reader is a very limited resource and it is very easy to lose it. A reader like a little child can become bored in a second, just because you give him wrong information. And by wrong, I mean either too little or too much or redundant. It is so easy to overwhelm your reader with redundant info. You just place one word that you can avoid and it becomes much more difficult to read and understand the whole sentence. And what is worse - if you place in your book redundant character and the worst is a redundant storyline.

Unfortunately, "American Gods" is full of redundant things. If you remove all the unimportant stuff that doesn't affect the main plot and the idea you will have just a few pages, instead of a huge novel. And it is frustrating: when you read one more story about an ancient god, you expect to see this god at least make some impact to the main story, but then the chapter ends and you will never read anything about this god or characters that were on previous ten or twenty pages, spoke with each other, lived their lives. "American Gods" is like a stage with hundred guns that never shoot, and somewhere behind this guns, you see a couple of main characters talking about the weather.

And main characters is my second problem with this book. They are stereotyped. They are not alive. You feel nothing when reading about their problems or emotions. How you can sympathize with a huge sullen wooden doll who robbed a bank, beaten his partners, has no sense of humor and now still works with bandit and rogue and doesn't change? Dialogs are so simple as it was written for thirteen-year-old girls. Some moments are written just to be in the book because people like moments like this. It feels awkward and out of place.

When you read "American Gods" you have a strong feeling that someone selling you something. It's like watching an advertisement where everyone smiling and colors are bright and the food is delicious and everything is made just to make people like it. And it wouldn't be so bad if I wouldn't notice it. But I did, and that makes this book unnatural for me.

"American Gods" is, at first place, about America. About people, about places, and about diversity. Probably, if you are American you will like it because you will recognize familiar places, familiar types of people and familiar stories. It is a very patriotic book, that shows you a real love to the country. I am not American and I've been there a couple of days so I cannot look at this book under this angle, and I can only judge as a foreign reader, so I, personally, didn't like it. But a lot of my friends did, so maybe I just missed some point, that covers all negative sides that I mentioned, who knows? Give it a try, if you want.