Friday, August 13, 2010

American Gods, as read by George Guidall

Way back in the nether regions of last year, I read American Gods. I found it interesting, but difficult. While I didn’t regret reading it, I doubted I would continue with Gaiman. Somehow, however, the story just didn’t leave my head. I kept picking at it, often almost ignoring whatever I was currently reading to puzzle out various aspects of it. Finally, I decided to give Gaiman another try. And discovered that he’s, if not the best thing since sliced bread, certainly among the best three or four. Though I haven’t managed to finish Gaiman’s bibliography yet, not even close, I decided to revisit American Gods.

Seeing as I was on the road at the time, I decided to do this in audiobook form. Now, barring the assorted young adult reads that my mother used to play in the car during long drives, this is my first real experience with audiobooks. For the most part, I found the voice acting far more engrossing than I thought that I would. The constraints of the format occasionally nagged me – such as being unable to go back if you missed a line, or being unable to mark a particularly excellent passage – but it was something that, once I managed to just sit back and concentrate on the story, succeeded in drawing me in quite a bit.

Though I don’t have much to compare it to, I thought that several individual characters were quite well voiced – Shadow, Wednesday, and Czernobog, in particular. My only gripe is that, while any two conversing characters would be distinctive enough to remove any problems, the number of different personalities given to them was finite. This led to them being reused quite often (which, I suppose, would’ve been impossible to avoid) and, more annoyingly, character voices changing between one appearance and the next, though never to a huge degree.

Though I finished the roadtrip about halfway through the book, and then reverted to the paper copy, I still hear the prose as read by Guidall. If you’re interested in the audiobook version of American Gods, I’d recommend it without hesitation. I’ll be writing more on American Gods, and, who knows, I might even touch upon some of the novel’s content, then. Time will tell, I guess.

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