Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman

Summary: Richard Mayhew is living an ordinary life in London when, out one night on an important dinner date with his fiance, he runs into a girl injured on the street and in need of help.  When he brings her back to her apartment, he finds himself drawn into her world.  Hidden beneath the streets of London, a strange subculture exists separate from London Above  Richard and Door (the girl) begin a journey to find the truth about Door's family's deaths.

Musings:  I picked this up at my school library from recognizing Gaiman's name.  Unintentionally, I also ended up with Good Omens at about the same time, so I was a little wary of beginning Neverwhere since I'd just read another of his books (I try to space out genres, subjects, and authors, if possible, but I've been failing miserably at that recently).  Fortunately Neverwhere was right up my genre alley and was sufficiently different from Good Omens to avoid deja vu.

Although Everwhere possesses some of the random sardonic humor that marks Good Omens, humor is not at the core of the work.  Instead, Everwhere is a fully-fledged fantasy adventure novel full of strange worlds, bizarre customs, and extraordinary characters (notice all the synonyms for weird?).  Although there's not anything particularly new or ground-breaking about the story line (it follows the heroic cycle perfectly-- not that that's unusual), I enjoyed going along for the ride with the warm characters.  You pull for Richard the entire time as life continues to smack him in the face, and he continues to pick himself back up again.  The delightful marquis de Carabas takes some unexpected turns and even the henchmen Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were fun to be around.

The book has a satisfying and appropriate end, and I missed Richard and Door--a little bit--once they were gone.

P.S.  Just learned that Neverwhere was first a BBC television series before being adapted into a book.  Wow; I don't think I've ever seen literature come from that directions.  Almost makes me feel somehow differently about it all.  It was still a great read, but I think I'm glad I didn't know going in.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite so far of Gaiman's novels. His books often seem to start off as something else: Stardust was an illustrated manuscript/comic the first time 'round, and a couple poems have found their way into becoming picture books. I love that his work crosses media boundaries.
    That said, I thought the BBC series was pretty terrible. The book is much better. :) You'll have to check for yourself, though...
    Glad you enjoyed Neverwhere!