Gaiman, Neil. American Gods. HarperCollins, 2001.
This novel is dense and deeply rooted, involving stories of old gods (literally ancient, old-world gods from a variety of cultures) transplanted to America by immigrants and gradually forgotten as people assimilated to American culture and created new, slicker, faster gods for themselves.
Shadow is the person who connects the old gods with each other. A convict out on parole, he hooks up with Wednesday (Wodin) and gets involved with the brewing battle between the old gods and the new. Eventually Shadow learns that things are not what they seem – but despite having been deceived, he finds that his world is richer for the experience.
I love the way Gaiman develops his characters – they’re complicated people, even when they aren’t people at all. Each mythological figure in American Gods has a personality and a history. This book is vivid and richly imagined, with a final plot twist that shows that even the gods are bound to be faithful to their own stories.