This said, let's examine it a little bit further. Shadow is released from prison the day his wife, Laura, dies in a car accident. Still shocked by her death he meets a mysterious guy, Mr. Wednesday that knows about Shadow more than Shadow himself. After a long conversation on the plane, Mr. Wednesday hires Shadow as a personal bodyguard. Obviously, from this moment forward Shadow's life is going to change radically. He will have to deal with ancient gods and new gods, he will have to overcome several trials and he will even play a deadly game of checkers, resembling the most famous chess game of Bergman's "The seventh seal". The book has several subplots, most of them very interesting.
This book, made me think about forgotten gods. What happened to them? Are they still gods? How would they feel if they knew that humanity forgot them? How would all the people that sacrificed for them feel if they knew that their gods were written off human history? Most likely this is the intent of the author.
Gaiman succeeded on writing a polyhedric book while keeping Shadow the only main character, without ever distracting the reader. In all truth there is one more main character: America itself. This book is also an amazing panoramic road trip in the soul and shape of this land.
Reading online, some of the criticism comes from the length of the book. Yes, the book is pretty long, but not too long. I do not think that any part could have been removed; in other words, shortening this book would have been a heinous crime. In addition, saying that a book is too long is similar to saying that a Mozart's symphony has too many notes.
I strongly suggest the reading of this book; I actually believe it should be mandatory.
Good job, Mr. Gaiman!