I’ve been back in Singapore for the past two weeks for a wedding, an upcoming birthday, and for a little bit of downtime. Rummaging through my old books, i’ve managed to re-read Watchmen and Clive Barker’s Mister B Gone. In their wake, i’ve moved on to Gaiman’s American Gods (which apparently is being adapted for TV!) .

Great American Gods impression by Maryanna Hoggatt


I can’t even remember finishing the book off. It must have been in my early 20’s. It seems that with time, re-reading books brings something new to the table each time. Rather, Time alters our perspective on things so much so that while books remain static, our views, opinions and beliefs are always in a state of flux. It’s also thanks to the process of time that I picked out this humorous reference to Poe in Gaiman’s novel that I would never have gotten the first time round.

Without giving away too much, the scenario in the novel goes a little like this. The protagonist of the novel encounters a talking raven, whose role is to show him the way:

The bird cawed again, impatiently. Shadow started walking towards it. It waited until he was close then flapped heavily into another tree, heading somewhat to the left of the way Shadow had originally been going.

“Hey”, said Shadow. “Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are.” 

The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes. 

“Say ‘Nevermore'”, said Shadow.

“Fuck you,” said the raven…….


This is, of course, a reference to Poe’s Gothic poem The Raven:


Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”

Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”


Poe and ravens aside, having gone through half of Gaiman’s novel, its diverse cast of bizzare secondary characters reminds me somewhat of a carnival populated by scores of unheimlich-looking creatures. It would make for a great TV series!


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'horror': Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’.

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