a man pulls off route 66 at a filling station
, passing the cigar store indian, picking up jube-jubes and ho-ho's, walks to the counter and pays with a buffalo nickel, has a conversation with a customer in a black cowboy hat, and then goes on his way.
... and then for two hundred more pages the semiotics/folklore/ subconscious-preconscious / meaning / deconstruction of that scene resonates all across America.
well... not literally.
actually this scene as described, does not, precisely speaking, occur in the book. but what this description lacks in actual objective truth perhaps captures the subjective flavor a riproaring yarn, a deep-mind-screw Americana and godhead decontruct as pioneered by an englishman with gothic-darkside sensibilities, resulting in what can only be described as a portrait of America.
165,000 reads here on Goodreads. 165,000 reads.
next to [a:Stephen King|3389|Stephen King|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1261866457p2/3389.jpg], Neil Gaiman might be the most widely read author here on goodreads, and rightly so. read this book. I mean, [b:The Stand|149267|The Stand|Stephen King|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1213131305s/149267.jpg|1742269] at 180,000 reads and a 4.3 rating is probably the only work that can compare, statistically speaking, to the impact of this work, and if it doesn't irrevocably change your life, at the same time it's one of those 'can't put it down' works. Gaiman is a master of the uncanny, and of course it's simply uncanny how he manages to trick your mind, get you to wonder about fate and predestination, and explore the dark recesses of folk culture and sacrificial kobolds.
the premise of the work:
the old gods of the old world are still alive-- barely, deriving their power only from the number of believers in America, which is an always dwindling number. soon the gods of the internet, the superhighway, the television station will wipe them out--or will they? dust devils are twirling, the clouds are rolling in, and america is preparing for an epic celestial war between old belief systems and new, personified as actual human beings-- and one recently discharged prisoner, Shadow, whose coin-tricks and inner compass may be all that mediates between these irresistible forces.
the deconstruction of the american psyche, the significance of myth, the interplay of modern consciousness and old, the uncanny, the aspects of death--all of these interplay in a riveting, dramatic work. Gaiman's masterpiece, and an unforgettable tale.