Neil Gaiman, American Gods
Gods are real and are living in America. There. Got that out there. In all honesty…Gaiman’s not a careful enough thinker to handle material like this in a new or interesting fashion. There are all kinds of icky gender politics in old mythology; I think it would take a very smart woman or a very smart, very special man to figure out how to reinterpret those issues, and Gaiman (although very intelligent) is just neither of those things. He takes the story in all the expected directions: frankly, all you really need to know about where this is going is to realize that Shadow, the main character, is let out of prison because his wife Laura and his best friend have just died in a car accident. At the funeral, his best friend’s wife spits in Laura’s coffin; it turns out that Laura and the best friend had been having an affair the entire time. They died because Laura was giving the best friend a very drunken, very enthusiastic blow job and knocked the gearshift out of place. And so they hit the back of a semi.
Oh, and to hit every “slutty woman done him wrong” cliché, Shadow went to prison because of Laura.
Okay, Gaiman-I’m very fond of you, since Anansi Boys was a hell of a lot of fun, but you just definitively proved that you are not the guy I want handling the creepier, sexier parts of mythology. Because you’re just going to talk about the part where the vagina eats people and leave it at that.
Recommended for: People who have a terminal attachment to Norse mythology.