‘American Gods,’ heading for television, gets reverential reissue
Neil Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology” has been rising high on the bestseller list since it was released last month, but one of Gaiman’s older books is finding new life, too.
His classic fantasy novel “American Gods,” first published in 2001, has just been reissued in a gorgeous special edition by the London-based Folio Society. This striking version of the Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning novel arrives in a slipcover and contains a dozen surreal illustrations by Dave McKean. Gaiman and McKean, both from Britain, have worked together on several previous books, including “Violent Cases,” “Black Orchid” and “The Graveyard Book.”
In his introduction to the Folio’s “American Gods,” McKean explains that his “illustrations begin as acrylic paintings on a background of cut papers and photographic textures.” That technique allows him to illustrate this new edition with what looks like a series of gilded nightmares.
“The imagery should create an atmosphere,” he writes, “an offkilter, unrealistic place, where perspective doesn’t work and elements and characters become flattened-out textures, shapes, concepts.”
Gaiman inspires such devotion from his fans that many won’t blink at the $120 price for this handsome book, which uses the author’s “preferred text” from 2003, a brief introduction from 2005 and an afterword from 2001 titled “How Dare You?” (And frankly, $120 is a bargain compared to copies of the limited edition of “American Gods” published by Hill House in 2003. Those editions, limited to 750 signed copies, sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars more.)
Meanwhile, the Starz network plans to begin a television adaptation of “American Gods” on April 30, which will only drive more readers back to this novel.
Big Brother is now huge
Next time you’re at Costco, you can pick up a jumbo bag of Cheetos with a copy of “1984.” Doubleplus good! The discount store is now stocking Orwell’s classic novel along with its usual selection of current bestsellers.
Much has been made of the soaring sales of “1984” since the inauguration. Last month, amid talk of “alternative facts” from the Trump administration, Signet Classics announced that it had reprinted 500,000 copies, about twice the book’s total sales in 2016.
Now, with Costco on board, Big Brother is guaranteed to get even bigger. The retailer offers only a small selection of books, but with tens of millions of members (what we used to call “customers”), the store is a major force in publishing. Appropriately, Costco is offering a reprint of the 2003 edition of “1984” with a foreword by Thomas Pynchon. That reclusive satirist must love the idea of hawking Orwell’s dystopian novel alongside towers of discounted toilet paper and radial tires. SHOPPING IS SAVING.
Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel “American Gods” has been reissued by the Folio Society in a special edition with illustrations by Dave McKean. Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology was released last month.