American Gods — the questions

From Angus.L on Flickr

I have just passed the first fifth of American Gods — literally, my kindle shows 21% now — and I still have so many basic questions.

First, the main character. Why was he in prison? I know it had something to do with his wife Laura, and that what he did was mainly an act of love. That makes something transpire of his character. He loved Laura, that is made clear in more than one occasion, but also he is not a bad person, so to speak. The hidden message is that probably he was in prison because there was no other way out. He found himself in a situation where he could save Laura’s ass and he did so — and for that he spent three years in prison.

Second, Wednesday. Where to begin with him? Not a single clue of who he might be, what’s his real name and in what kind of activity he is involved. From the title of the book and the kind of friends he has, I kind of get to what category he must belong to, but I have few clues other than those. And does Shadow belong to the same category? He made snow once, didn’t he? Or was it all Wednesday’s show?

What really bothers me is the way Wednesday left the airplane without Shadow noticing and how he knew where he was going. Does that mean he has unnatural superhuman powers? If he is who I suspect he is, probably yes. But then why does he behave like a rotten American, sleeping in motels and robbing banks?

Third, everything else that is going on around the two of them. Laura appeared one night, she was not a ghost, nor a dream. Yet she was dead. The three old ladies presiding at the dawn, dusk and night for their father clearly had something to do with gods from other cultures and centuries, but what do they have to do with Wednesday and Shadow?

After a fifth of the book I am left with what Shadow himself describes perfectly to the lady of the night. I don’t know what’s going on here. I know something is up but I am sort playing along with it.

The power of the untold.

That makes me think to the reason why I want to keep reading American Gods. I want answers. And what is driving me is the untold, not the told. Conflict is yet not clear at this point; however, I know something will blow up soon, and it will be something big.

A reminder to all the writers then. At the beginning of the book you need to generate questions. If your characters are interesting the reader will be interested in knowing the answers. And will keep reading.