American Gods: Settings

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American Gods: Settings

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mar 10, 2014, 12:03 pm

What did you think about the various places Shadow visited during his travels? Did the novel present an accurate picture of America, and what life is like in those places? What do things like Hinzelmann's presence in an idyllic town imply about small-town life?

mar 10, 2014, 2:22 pm

Lakeside, at least as we first knew it, was what, IMHO, we wish all small towns were like. But we know that can't be, and so did Gaiman. All the pretty hides some significant ugly.

mar 10, 2014, 3:31 pm

But he definitely got the description of Midwest winters right . . . no way to sugar-coat how obscenely cold it can get here.

mar 10, 2014, 7:24 pm

Never having been to the Midwest, I don't know whether it was accurate. It didn't make me want to visit.

The Lakeside thing was pretty obvious, the way everyone insisted it was a "good" town. Happily, although I was raised in a small town that was good enough, it was never any more or less special than the others around us. To my knowledge, no child sacrifices were happening, just mindless auto accidents by drunk teens. Which I suppose could be considered a sacrifice to Dionysus, but it wasn't intentional. :(

mar 10, 2014, 9:44 pm

I'm from the Midwest, and I think he got a lot of it right. House on the Rock -- legendary! Lakeside was of course an extreme case, although a lot of places have little local rituals like the ice-melt watch.

I think he has the advantage of the viewpoint of a resident alien. What locals think is unremarkable is stands out as strange and weird to the visitor.

mar 10, 2014, 9:52 pm

What I thought rang very true to the Midwest (where I lived most of my life) was more intangible. The air of desolation just permeated so much of the novel, and really hit home for me. There's a vastness to the world that I only ever feel when I'm visiting my tiny hometown.

Maybe my Midwestern roots help explain why I like American Gods so much?

mar 11, 2014, 1:05 am

Did anyone else get the idea that the townspeople knew something was wrong about the children going missing? Especially the children seemed to know. I wasn't sure whether we were supposed to believe that they were complicit in it or had been "glamoured" by the gouly. I rather had the idea that they were glamoured, but not only by the whatever-he-was, but also by their own desires to have things stay "good."

Gaiman did an excellent job of making the town just a bit tilted and uncomfortable irregardless of its reputation.

Redigerat: mar 14, 2014, 6:03 pm

The places all seemed quite detailed and real to me (even though they are all, in some sense, deliberately unreal - House on the Rock, See Rock City! Cairo, IL - real enough, but not Egyptian).

The missing children being not quite noticed by townsfolk was interesting and creepy. It quickly became clear that people cared about missing kids but seemed not to be able to remember that other children had gone missing. He did that very well. I think MrsLee is quite right that there was some degree of willingness on the part of the residents to be ignorant.

mar 14, 2014, 11:00 pm

I had a building sense that Lakeside was going to go all Shirley Jackson at some point, with Hinzelmann's "Buy Our Lottery Ticket, Shadow!" pitch. But I thought the nervous next-door neighbor Lady was the next resident who's number would be up.

mar 16, 2014, 2:42 pm

I grew up not far from the Center of the Center and I think Gaiman got the description of that area just about right. I found his use of these out-of-the-way tourist places to be hilarious and yet poignant at the same time. There were some really obvious puns in the use of these places - House on the Rock, Rock City, Center of the Center, etc. These are such names of power, and yet the places have no power because they aren't powerful enough to be major tourist attractions like Disneyland, or The Mall in Washington, D.C.

mar 26, 2014, 9:49 pm

He DEFINITELY got the "getting directions to the highway from the middle of nowhere" part right...