Neil Gaiman must have British gonads of titanium to write a huge sprawling epic story about the nature of American belief. It's a gamble that worked perfectly - since, as he said, "Nobody's American [...] Not originally. That's my point.""It's a god-eat-god world." This quote by Sir Terry Pratchett, another amazing British writer, perfectly summarizes the surface plot of the intimidating bulk of American Gods."It's what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen. "American Gods is Gaiman's ode to America, the land which has become a melting pot to more than just people. It also took in the beliefs they willingly or not brought with them to the New World, embraced them, changed them, allowed some to flourish and others to nearly wither away. It pitted the old gods not only against each other in the endless battle for survival, but also against the new deities of consumerism and technology for the precious belief that keeps them going. To quote Sir Pratchett again, "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"."Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end."But the squabble among the old and new gods is just the surface. The heart of Gaiman's novel lies in portrayal - through seemingly unconnected interludes and sketches - of the people who brought the legends to this land, brought them among blood and loss and sorrow and heartbreak, of the people now who live in the this patchwork country that made a whole out of many little bits, of their origins and pasts, and of the soul of present-day America, the glue that holds it together."There was a girl, and her uncle sold her. Put like that it seems so simple."And to top it all off, we are treated to the portrait of a seemingly idyllic, very Stephen King-esque small American town of Lakeside, hiding its own dark deep secret. Lakeview, the quintessential American small town, the stuff of legends, as one may say. Terrifying legends, indeed.Don't be fooled into thinking the ex-con Shadow working for a mysterious Mr. Wednesday (whose real identity is not that hard to spot almost immediately) is the protagonist. No, Shadow feels flat and underdeveloped simply because he is just our binoculars into the vast landscape of American mythology, this world of belief and legends. "What should I believe? thought Shadow, and the voice came back to him from somewhere deep beneath the world, in a bass rumble: Believe everything."The imagery that Gaiman creates is stunning. He paints a vivid picture with confident brush strokes, creating an unforgettable literary landscape. And he takes a gamble with the storyline and the plotting as well. Do not look for exciting battles and confrontations, for non-stop action or fast-moving plot. This is the book unfolding slowly and finding its depth in the side stories and interludes that are there not to move the plot forward in the traditional sense but to give an extra glimpse, an extra dimension to the unfolding epic picture.5 stars for the unforgettable fascinating fully-immersing experience. Mr. Gaiman, if you want a title of an honorary American from this awestruck immigrant, well - here it is."What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul."