review: American Gods

Certainly Gaiman’s masterwork in prose. Gaiman is a master storyteller; a storyteller more than a fantasist, though fantasy is the purest vehicle of story I know.

Halfway though, I was struck by the sense of seeing through the smoke and mirrors, understanding what he was doing and how. And in a sense that is true, simple familiarity with his almost formalist* style, the way he spins meaning with structure and symbol. Yet somehow the second half of the book blew me away, and therein was the mastery. Everything tied in as the larger action revealed itself; what had earlier seemed indulgent and cute took up new importance.

It reminds me of something I learned long ago. Plot, in a sense, is simply the order you tell the story in. A story has its own existence, and can be told in many ways.

(* I use the word with no specific meaning but it feels true; maybe old-fashioned is what I mean.)

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