I started listening to the audio version of American Gods again this week. (I have a 45 minute commute to and from work so audiobooks can be my best friend sometimes.) I say again because, since its release, I’ve probably listened to it at least 4-5 times. It seems I throw it in the CD player* every 6-9 months or so. And get this – it never gets old. Seriously, when I put it in and hear the opening lines I feel comfortable, like coming back to a favorite place after being gone for too long. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “But it’s the same story. How can it NOT get old?”
* – Note, the first audio version of this we bought was on cassette when it was thought to be too much to put out on CDs. Thank goodness for mp3 CDs and stereos that can play them.
That’s the beauty of it. Neil Gaiman wove a tale in this novel that is so subtly complex you don’t realize it until you’ve listened to it or read it repeatedly. The story is tricky when you first read it, almost in the way “Pulp Fiction” was when you first saw it. And by tricky I mean there are a bunch of “a-ha!” moments along the way. But even after I’ve listened to it so many times, I still have those “a-ha” moments – not because I’m slow (come on, I watched Buffy, I’ve learned to make some connections and pay attention to a lot of little story details along the way) but because the layers aren’t obvious. That’s what makes it so much fun to come back to again and again. This most recent time it happened again during a scene where Shadow is in the airport trying to get back to Eagle Point – aha! It’s a wonderful thing.
I bought American Gods the day it came out. That weekend, Neil Gaiman was here on a signing tour. He read a passage, about when Shadow meets Mad Sweeney for the first time and drinks Mr. Wednesday’s mead, on a Sunday morning in the middle of a bookstore. He signed lots of things, made a joke about my name when it was my turn (that I didn’t get because I was awed and speechless), drew a picture in my copy of Mr. Punch and in my first edition copy of Good Omens inscribed, “We made the devil do it”. It was a great day. I went home and read American Gods in roughly two days. Um, yeah, sorry but I said I was a fangirl, didn’t I?
When I first found the audiobook at the library and started listening I told Mark, “You’ve got to listen to this with me.” Thankfully he was with me at the reading and it had already peaked his interest. We would sit in the living room, after Dylan went to bed, with Dylan’s little portable radio/CD/cassette player listening to this story. I think about those nights all the time. When Anasi Boys came out, I bought the hardcover and the CDs at the same time.
So, yeah, where was I? Right, I love American Gods. I have lots more to say about that, but not tonight.
Meanwhile, as I’ve been writing this I’ve been slipping into a comfortably numb state of mind with many thanks to the Marie Antoinette soundtrack. It took a little longer to get it than expected (cause Target was on my bad side last week and I hate FYE) but I have it. The first CD of the two is, in my opinion, much better than the second. And it rocks (especially The Strokes song on it) when you’re in a certain kind of mood. The kind where you’re grateful that it’s the weekend and you can relax and you think a glass of wine (or two or three) is in order.
Raise your glass to the weekend (and save a sip for Mad Sweeney, why don’t ya).