Page 151. " She wore a red sari, and on her forehead was a small dark blue jewel. "

Mama-ji is the Hindu goddess Kali.

Kali is associated with eternal energy. Her name means 'the black one,' and death and time are under her control. She is sometimes viewed as a benevolent mother goddess, as well as a fierce warrior goddess who slays demons.


Page 153. " They were standing in the room of the biggest carousel in the world, listening to the Emperor Waltz. "

Emperor Waltz by Johann Strauss

Page 154. " thought might be Elvis "

 This strange-looking man is Alviss, a son of the dwarves in Norse mythology.

He was promised to Thor's daughter, Thrud, but was tricked into exposing himself to sunlight which turned him into stone so she could escape marrying him.

Page 164. " it was less problematic to think of Jackson Pollock than to accept the alternative. "

Jackson Pollock was an American painter and an important figure in the abstract expressionist movement. 

Close up Jackson Pollock

Page 165. " You shine like a beacon in a dark world "

Laura gives a hint about Shadow's true identity: Baldur was known as the golden god and the shining one.


Page 170. " rivers all led to the Mississippi "

Map of the Mississippi river
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMap of the Mississippi river - Credit: Shannon via wikipedia

The largest river system in North America is the Mississippi.

The Ojibwe word for it was 'misi-ziibi' meaning 'Great River'.

Page 170. " eventually he'd get to New Orleans, "

New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana.

It is famous for its cuisine, its festivals as well as its music and multilingual heritage.


Google Map
Page 171. " A distant woodpecker drummed against a rotten log "

 Woodpeckers, from the family Picidae, are found worldwide.  There are about 200 species but many are threatened by loss of habitat.

Page 173. " 'Say "Nevermore",' said Shadow. "

Shadow is quoting from the narrative poem, 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe.


Page 174. " The one in Little Egypt, they call that one Kayro "

Little Egypt is the nickname for Southern Illinois. Some say the name arose in the 1830s when poor harvests in the north of the state drove people to Southern Illinois to buy grain. Others says it stems from a resemblance to the Nile delta.


Google Map


In 1818, a large tract of land was purchased by developers and named Cairo, pronounced kayro. Some people believe this to be the origin of the Little Egypt nickname.

Page 174. " They got a Thebes down there "


Google Map


Like Cairo, Illinois, Thebes is also named after an ancient city of Egypt.