Book length (was Re: tad williams)

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Sat Feb 8 15:42:12 EST 2003


---Original Message From: Abe Gross
> 
> Melissa wrote:
> 
> > My point has been that the choice not to read a book should not be
> conflated
> > with the overall quality of the book.  I'm not going to 
> read _American
> Gods_
> > because I know there are things in it that would really put me off.
> 
> I haven't read _American Gods_, and am wondering what you've 
> heard about it that's put you off.

She heard what I told her.  I think we discussed this, oh, a year ago?
Right after the book came out.  I read it and I loved it and it is a
*powerful* book with amazing elements drawn from all over, woven into a
narrative that is gripping and thrilling.  It was, in my opinion, Neil
Gaiman finally coming into his own as a novelist--all of his other books
have lacked something for me; an inadequate translation by an artist getting
the feel for a new medium.  Not so American Gods.  Awesome book.

But it has some very graphic scenes of violence and even torture.  Including
some horrific episodes of child abuse.  If you've read Neil Gaiman's graphic
novels, you'll know that he has a way of descending unbelievably deep into
the human psyche and can produce works of terrible beauty and unbelievable
pain.

Now, I don't mind that kind of thing and shrug the horror off relatively
easily and pull the underlying story out in a way that I find satisfying
without doing any long-term damage.  But not everybody reacts the way I do.
In getting to know one another in our (now 11) years of marriage, Melissa
and I have learned how different things affect us (and how they don't).
American Gods is simply too much.  It's sad and she knows she's missing Neil
Gaiman's best work to date.  But the payoff isn't worth the cost.  It isn't
that I forbid her or anything.  It's just that we trust each other's
judgment about things.

Jacob Proffitt


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