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Poutine eating pacifists


The great thing about my bookclub is that no one is afraid to share their opinion - even saying "share" is couching it a bit. It's more like tearing a piece off the raw meat we have thrown in the centre of the room.
This weekend the battlelines were drawn on Gaiman's, American Gods. One guest actually did throw the book down on the floor to visually punctuate his opinion. Like a freshly killed rabbit, the pack jumped on it. You get the idea that this is not your aunt's bookclub.

At the end of the night, I had a new appreciation for what Gaiman was trying to do (even if we couldn't agree what he was trying to do). The talk swung from themes of ancient Gods and people's belief in them, to an outsider's view of America as a nihilistic place, where the media and internet rule. It was a charged night as it touched on some things that seem to bubble out of a lot of our meetings – American manifest destiny for one. Maybe we are obsessed with that in our faux-innocent Northern neighbour position. Gaiman certainly draws the parallel to the God's need for blood to survive and the need for blood sacrifice, like war, in the American psyche. I say faux-innocent, because I think Canadians can get a little smug, thinking we are a bunch of poutine eating, toque wearing pacifist hosers that are nothing like our southern neighbours. I've met folks on both side of the border that prove this stereotype wrong.

The good thing is that I introduced the club to Gaiman and I think he gained a few new fans - and a few that wonder what the hell that was all about. Fiction, often good fiction, can be divisive that way. One person's brilliance can be another one's floor sweepings.

Get a quart of oil and make your own poutine.

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