We dove headfirst into American Gods last night and barely made it up for air. For those of you unfamiliar with this popular, multi-award garnered novel by Neil Gaiman, it’s a darkly humorous, high-octane blend of pulp fiction, sci-fi, and spiritual warfare, set for the most part in a parallel universe that bears a strong resemblance to northern Wisconsin.
We were able to draw a number of thematic links to the Heart of Darkness exhibition, which we toured immediately preceding our discussion. The Thomas Hirschhorn cave could have easily been a setting for several scenes of the novel, and the blood-stained sofa in Kai Althoff’s installation evoked an eerie similarity to a room where the novel’s protagonist engages in a life and death games of checkers.
Though, within our group, gut reaction to the novel covered the gamut of emotional response from love to hate, we came to a shared understanding and appreciation of the massive range and scope of the author’s efforts. “Epic” only begins to describe Mr. Gaiman’s tome. And in the season of the ten-second sound bite, that in it self can serve as a refreshing respite for frazzled neural receptors.