Archive for the ‘mystery’ Category
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is unlike any novel I have read before. I’ve read this book a few times, and what’s nice about reading it again is since I know what the main plot line is, I can focus on all the little details. American Gods is a book of illusions, and as any illusionist will tell you the trick to the perfect illusion is misdirection.
Shadow is about to get out of jail. He’s a good guy who made a bad decision, and after three years behind bars he’s ready to keep his head down and live the cleanest life anyone has ever seen. The day he gets out, he learns that his wife, Laura, has been killed in a car accident. On the airplane trip home, Shadow meets a Mr. Wednesday, an old grizzled man who knows way too much about him, his wife, his time behind bars, everything.
At Laura’s funeral, he learns she was sleeping with his best friend.
You know that list of books you want to read again the moment you finish them? Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose makes that list for me.
For an Eco, it’s surprisingly readable, and layered in such a way that readers of any interest level will get a lot out of it.
At its most basic level, this is a murder mystery. In Eco’s afterward, he mentions the concept of the novel was born when he played with the idea of poisoning a monk. He also mentions that he wrote the prose in a specifically open manner to encourage readers to form their own interpretation of events and conversations. Is that person being sarcastic? Is there some kind of secrecy going on? If you interpret it that way, then he is, and there is. Like so many things in life, it’s all about how you interpret it.