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‘Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end’
Just before his release from prison, Shadow learns that his wife has been killed in a car accident. Aimless and in shock, he meets Mr Wednesday, a hustler and con man with a number of peculiar friends. After accepting a job as Wednesday’s bodyguard and driver, Shadow finds himself on a road trip across the haunted landscape of America and, along with his shady boss, is soon embroiled in a conflict that could destroy them all: a war between the old gods and the new.
‘Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive, a picaresque journey across America where the travelers are even stranger than the roadside attractions’
Winner of multiple awards, including the Hugo and the Nebula, American Gods is Neil Gaiman’s sweeping exploration of story, myth and the shifting nature of belief itself. According to Mr Wednesday, gods travelled to the new world with their immigrant worshippers only to flounder in a land both too strange and too modern to nurture them. Although the story is rooted in the familiar - Gaiman gives us Egyptian deities who run funeral parlours, and gods who drive cabs to make a living - it tears back the veil to reveal the pulsing supernatural heart of America. Crammed with unconventional yet wholly engaging characters, this story of coin tricks, cons and misdirection is considered by many to be Gaiman’s masterpiece.
‘People ask me who my favourite artist is, to work with. I’ve worked with world-class artists, after all, heaps of them. World-class people. And when they ask me about my favourite, I say Dave McKean’
Award-winning artist and illustrator Dave McKean first worked with Gaiman on the graphic novel Violent Cases before going on to work with him again on Sandman, a comic book series that revolutionised the form. Like Gaiman’s stories, McKean’s multimedia pieces, with their layered meanings and half-monstrous creatures, capture the uneasy relationship between the real and the unreal. Now a legendary creative team, Gaiman and McKean have joined forces on several celebrated projects, including illustrated editions of The Graveyard Book and Coraline. For this special collector’s edition, the only colour illustrated hardback volume currently available, McKean has created 12 extraordinary illustrations, including three double-page spreads and a frontispiece, as well as designs for the binding and slipcase that complement and mirror each other.
The slipcase artwork features an impressionistic image of Shadow in his cell on the front, and a bison – a nod to the buffalo man who recurs as Shadow’s guide in the novel – on the back. The binding plays with these images further, interweaving them using stylised, dynamic shapes, suggesting the overlaying of the supernatural realms and the real world in the novel itself.
‘Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy delights and disturbs … [his] achievement is to make the fantasy world seem true’
‘Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose – American Gods uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages’
Neil Gaiman is a critically acclaimed writer of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His many notable works include the groundbreaking series Sandman (the first comic book to win a literary award, the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story) and the novels Good Omens (1990, in collaboration with Terry Pratchett), Stardust (1999) and American Gods (2001, winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award for Best Novel). His writing for young readers includes Coraline (2002, winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award for Best Novella, and a Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers) and The Graveyard Book (2008, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal). Credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, Gaiman is an author whose work crosses many genres and reaches audiences of all ages. His most recent publication is Norse Mythology (2017).
Dave McKean has released 60 books as an illustrator, author, photographer and designer, including Cages (1990–6, winner of two Harvey Awards, the Ignatz Award, La Pantera Award and the Alph-Art Award), Pictures That Tick (2009, V&A Illustrated Book of the Year), and Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash (2016, a 14–18 Now Foundation/Imperial War Museum/LICAF commission). He has collaborated with Neil Gaiman (Sandman, 1989–97; Coraline, 2002), John Cale (What’s Welsh for Zen, 1998; Sedition and Alchemy, 2003), David Almond (The Savage, 2008), Richard Dawkins (The Magic of Reality, 2011), Heston Blumenthal (as Director of Story at The Fat Duck) and others. He has worked in theatre, galleries and the music industry, and has written and directed three feature films, MirrorMask (2005), The Gospel of Us (2012, winner of two Cymru BAFTAs) and Luna (2014, winner of the Raindance Award for Best Picture, BIFA).
‘People believe … They believe. And then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe: and it is that belief, that rock-solid belief, that makes things happen’
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Review by anon on 27th Mar 2017
"What a gorgeous book. You've really outdone yourselves this time. I complained for years in your members' polls that you needed to publish SF and fantasy classics, and you've finally started doing i..." [read more]