The more I thought about Low Key, the funnier the discussion got for me until I had to giggle and then explain why what my friend was saying was so funny. No one else had read American Gods so that lead to me telling them why the book was so awesome and recommending it. I don't know about you, reader, but when I am reminded of really good books in this way, I grow nostalgic for them - like remembering a place you used to live or a friend you used to talk to. You long to go back and visit them and that is just what I did.
The story follows Shadow, an ex-con who has just been released from prison and finds himself without a job or a home or a woman to return to. He is pulled into the world of modernized gods and myth by Mr. Wednesday who hires Shadow to be a sort of body guard, assistant, transporter, etc (anyone watch mob movies? Who is the guy that does everything but has no authority?). During the course of this job, Shadow meets leprechauns bigger than life, funeral directors who are more than what they seem, people who ought to remain dead, and horrific sacrifices.
War is coming among the gods. The gamble is crooked, the game is rigged, the stakes are high...but its the only game in town.
Wednesday describes America through the Statue of Liberty - saying she is a whore with cold jizm running down her leg. This idea of America being harsh and filthy is reiterated with chapter segments of prostitution and hardship of the working class. However, when Shadow dreams, it is usually of a buffalo god and the ancient gods of the Americas including the energy of fire under the earth and these gods describe America briefly as being a land of fire and dreams and no place for gods because of that. We see these dreams and the fire within in our Everyman, Shadow - in how he was able to get out of jail through good behavior, in his love for his wife, and in his desire to learn what this world is all about. We also in side characters like Sam who is going to school and finding love, in Salim who finds freedom through the tricks of an ifrit.
I think its beautiful how Gaiman describes America in both of these ways because I think we as Americans embody both of these concepts - the dirty and the dream, the fire and filth. We have riots in the streets but we also have people doing amazing things every day and are capable of that because of where we live...but I digress.