Think of America. Think of the people living there and who have lived there. The Vikings, the Indians, slaves. The immigrants from Ireland, Japan and everywhere in between. Now imagine the gods they brought with them: the spirits, the leprechauns and demons.
These gods were abandoned.
The gods of new technology replaced them. Trains, malls, the Internet. But the old gods are still alive. And they need belief.
Shadow is a man who has nothing to live for. Just out of jail and newly widowed, he is recruited by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday on the way to his wife's funeral. Shadow soon finds himself on a cross-country trip helping Wednesday recruit the old gods for a fight against the new.
American Gods cost me sleep. There were funny parts, there were sad parts. It is sexy, spiritual, amazing and wonderful. If you've never read a book in your life, start with this one.
Neil Gaiman is the author of the highly acclaimed Sandman comic book series, and has written with the Discworld author Terry Pratchett in the hilarious Good Omens. Some of his other works include the fantasy Stardust and Neverwhere. Gaiman is already an English treasure. American Gods makes him an American one as well.