Most of the supernatural events in American Gods are decidedly not uncanny. The novel's juxtaposition of the fantastic and the mundane tends to be anticlimactic. One might even call it canny as opposed to uncanny. Much of the book's humor comes from Shadow's nonplussed reactions to things that ought to send him running away in terror. Where can we find the uncanny in American Gods or even in other real-life examples, and how do the authors use it?

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American Gods is a novel written by British novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer Neil Gaiman , first published in 2001 by publishers Headline and William Morrow. In 2002, it received multiple awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the Nebula...

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American Gods is a novel written by British novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer Neil Gaiman, first published in 2001 by publishers Headline and William Morrow. In 2002, it received multiple awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the Nebula Award for Best Novel. Its plot centers on Shadow, an ex-convict who is hired to serve as bodyguard to the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday—who, he eventually finds, is the Norse god Odin in human form.

The uncanny can be found in the supernatural or fantastical events that occur throughout the novel. An example of this is the consistent presence of the ghost of Laura, Shadow’s ex-wife, who died in a car accident shortly before he was released from prison. Laura’s ghost follows Shadow around and even rescues him from the Men in Black (a group of assassins who serve the New Gods). Unlike other such events in the novel, this is thoroughly uncanny, as it is a matter of life or death.

The other events, meanwhile, are merely quirky or whimsical, as they serve only to reveal the magical identities of the people Shadow meets. Examples of these include the Egyptian gods Thoth and Anubis, and the Norse god Loki. This is why some fantastic events in the novel are seen as “anticlimactic”; humorously enough, they do not elicit intense or extreme reactions from Shadow.

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