|“||Main Street, which they were on, was a pretty street, even at night, and it looked old-fashioned in the best sense of the word - as if, for a hundred years, people had been caring for that street and they had not been in a hurry to lose anything they liked.||”|
Lakeside is a location in American Gods where Shadow is hiding from the New Gods and their spooks while Wednesday is trying to persuade the Old Gods to join his war. This town is also protected and controlled by Hinzelmann.
- 1 Significance in Narrative
- 2 The Lake
- 3 Mabel's Diner
- 4 Lakeside Library
- 5 The Buck Stops Here
- 6 Notes and Trivia
- 7 References
Significance in Narrative
Shadow first arrives in Lakeside in Chapter Nine on Christmas and lives there for the next few months as he travels with Wednesday throughout the US recruiting Old Gods for his war. Shadow returns to Lakeside in Chapter Twenty to uncover Hinzelmann's secret.
When Shadow first arrives in Lakeside, Richie Hinzelmann offers him a ride in Tessie, his antique Wendt Phoenix roadster. Hinzelmann tells Shadow about the town of Lakeside and invites him to join in the town's annual raffle of predicting the date and time when a specific vehicle on the frozen lake will break through the ice, signaling the end of winter.
Shadow wakes up from a dream where he's about to be ritually sacrificed and finds his new apartment in Lakeside is freezing cold. He decides to attempt the supposed ten-minute walk into town but underestimates how cold it is. Just as he approaches the bridge into Lakeside, Chad Mulligan pulls up next to him and offers him a ride into town.
Hinzelmann sells Shadow raffle tickets for the klunker on the ice. Shadow buys the time slot for March 23rd from 9:00 am to 9:25 am.
Shadow learns from the Minutes of the Lakeside City Council book he bought at the library that one of Hinzelmann's ancestors helped create the lake around Lakeside that gives the town its name.
Shadow arrives in Lakeside and drives directly to the Lake where he goes out on the ice to the klunker parked there. He uses the antenna to pick the lock on the car and pries the frozen door open to release the trunk. He sees Alison McGovern's body in the trunk and tries to get her out, causing the ice to break and sending Shadow and the car into the water at 9:10 am on March 23rd (the same time frame on his raffle ticket).
Shadow finds himself trapped under the ice and realizes Hinzelmann has been hiding the bodies of all the missing kids over the last hundred or so years down at the bottom of the lake. He tries to find his way out from under the still frozen ice and is soon pulled free. He sees Whiskey Jack and the Buffalo Man walking away before he loses consciousness.
Shadow and Mulligan eat at Mabel's as Mulligan tells him about his distant cousin who might come for a visit. On another morning, Shadow stops by for pasties before his regular morning walk and Mabel recommends he take a scenic walk east on Country Q where he encounters a cat and Laura.
Shadow stops off at Mabel's for lunch and Mabel lets him know that Hinzelmann wants to go ice fishing and Mulligan's second-cousin is in town.
Shadow heads to the library to research his dream about eagle stones and thunderbirds. While there, he runs into Leon and Marguerite Olsen who tell him to visit the library sale. He buys three books for a dollar, including the Minutes of the Lakeside City Council 1872--1884.
The Buck Stops Here
After the search party for Alison McGovern is halted because it gets too cold, everyone meets up at the tavern where Shadow performs a few coin tricks for the first time in front of an audience.
After dinner at Marge's, Shadow and Sam head to the Buck Stops Here. On the way to the bar, Sam and Shadow discuss the Spooks and Sam convinces Shadow to tell her the truth because she can "believe anything." Shadow explains to her about the war between the Old Gods and the New and she tells him she won't turn him in.
Chad Mulligan is at the bar with his distant cousin, who turns out to be Audrey Burton. She screams and causes a scene when she sees Shadow and orders for him to be arrested for murdering the two Spooks. Sam tells Audrey off before kissing Shadow to show she's on his side. Mulligan takes Shadow outside and sends Audrey away before driving Shadow to his office.
Notes and Trivia
- Lakeside might be partially inspired by Menomonie, Wisconsin, near where Neil Gaiman lives.
- There is a bridge across Lake Menomin
- Menomonie has a branch of the M&I bank
- The Mabel Tainter Memorial Theatre is a castle-like structure reminiscent of the Lakeside Library
- Every winter a car is placed on the frozen Lake Menomin and Menomonie residents try to guess the date it will sink into the lake
- Several Menomonie businesses use "lakeside" on their signage, i.e. Lakeside Floral, Lakeside Lounge, etc...
- Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab created a home-and-linen spray based on Lakeside for their "American Gods - Home and Linen Spray" line. It was described as: Perfect wholesomeness: green grass, summer daisies, spring daffodils, and bake sale cookies bought with blood and terror, all frozen beneath a sheet of thick black ice.