Sympathetic Stupid

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Gaiman: American Gods

At lunchtime I finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Great read.

I suspect I don't have quite the critical ability to do justice to the book, but it was a damn good read. Big story, decent characters, although Shadow's an exception to that because I found him compelling. He was recently bereaved so maybe I have some sympathy.

I occasionally found myself skipping the more wordy passages, the digressions and flashbacks into times past; I don't often concentrate well enough to really appreciate these. But for the most part, the writing was nice and clear. Nice use of the pantheons of many cultures. These appeal to my inner intellectual snob by letting me think I know the background. Until it becomes apparent that my knowledge of this is slight.

I always like to read books by smart people, and he certainly gives the impression of brains. All I'd read of Gaiman's before was Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett. I can't remember that well enough to compare the two. But I've been advised to get into the Sandman graphic novels, so they could be on the agenda, though he does have other novels.

Next up is The Tax Inspector by Peter Carey. It seemed somehow unpatriotic to have not read anything by the greatest living Australian author (after Bryce Courtenay and Ken Piesse, of course). I'm hoping he'll work for me as well as Patrick White has in the past.