Gods of the Road and Radio: The 10th Anniversary Full Cast Recording of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

Posted: 8 November, 2011 in Bookish, Reviews
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Shuffle Says: “Marry You” B.B. King and Eric Claption Ridin with the King.

So, awhile ago I wrote about my last road trip back up here (that was before my plates expired and I ended up with 500 dollars in parking tickets in two weeks while keeping it in the exact same spot on my street) and how wonderful the drive was. This was in large part due to the pleasant company of Neil Gaiman and friends and the new full cast recording of  American Gods. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, Gaiman is a huge fan if audio books and I’m sure he went through a great deal of effort to ensure a fine production. Before the tenth anniversary of Gods Gaiman’s last novel to take an aural turn was The Graveyard Book and before that was The Wolves in the Walls both of which were for children and both of which were read in their official capacity¬†entirely¬†by him. In American Gods (the first version¬†did not feature the dulcet tones of the author’s voice) Gaiman takes a bit of a back seat opting¬†not narrate this one as he believes it would be¬†inappropriate¬†given his accent (an admirable choice). Instead he takes on the “Coming To America” passages, all immigrant stories, which makes far more sense considering he is one himself. ¬†Even for those brief moments, his voice as always was a wonderful, sexy addition to the joy of the story itself.

This book is certainly on my top five and I believe, especially considering its sheer epic nature, is one that always stands for a great reread.

The new¬†edition¬†also features 16,000 more words than the original U.S. version. It gives it a bit of a ‘directors cut feel’, though not changing the story all that much. Gaiman¬†admired¬†that the “original” version has long since been lost. After half a dozen rewrites and numerous edits and editions after¬†the majority of that text was cut, it couldn’t simply be shoved back in without negative¬†repercussions¬†on the story. So Gaiman says he actually did some minor rewriting to slip some extra material in and calls the new version his “preferred” text.

All things considered, however, the added content was so well blended in I had to often ask myself if maybe I had forgotten something or remembered it wrong. Luckily I was driving and couldn’t pull out my old copy to check.¬†There additional scene with Jesus (and I wont tell you any more about it), he doesn’t put back ‘in’ at all, but leaves it as something like a deleted scene at the end. This one was interesting was… nice, a bit queer, and I can see why he left it out.

The cast is stellar, the only actors I had issue with were Shaddow’s wife Laura – there was some strange stop start cadence to her speech that just kept bothering me – and… some other woman (Sam Blackcrow I think and for the same reason)

OK so not much of a review today, but I’m feeling lazy and I really want to get this one off the shelf

Also, after spending this precious time with the book, I feel it is worth giving a half sleeve’s worth of ink to. Anyone who feels like¬†volunteering¬†to design it, feel free to¬†volunteer.

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