Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published June, 2001
Publisher William Morrow
Released June 19, 2001. Picked up my copy on the 24th and read straight through it in a day.
"American Gods" reminds me a great deal of Douglas Adams' "Long Dark Teatime of the Soul," not in terms of absurdity or humor, but rather in that the story is very complete and believable, and concerns the gods, such as they are.
Anybody who tells you that the book is about old and new gods, or about a man named Shadow, or about coin tricks, or about having one's head smashed in for losing a game of checkers, is selling you a line, because those are just details, not the story itself.
Much like any Neil Gaiman story, the devil is in the details, and you just have to resolve yourself to coming along for the ride or you'll miss it. It's not one story, or two, it's many, and it's all complete...and you have to just read it, and enjoy it, and accept it. Or just don't bother.
I might as well sell you a violin as sell this book to you, or pluck a synopsis of it from behind your ear and then deposit it in my hand, only to have it turn into a critical review while your attention is elsewhere. But I won't, you'll just have to find the magic yourself.