Tuesday, 6 September 2011

GoodRead - Neverwhere

As you guys know, I have read some Neil Gaiman. Well, I say some. I read and audiobooked Coraline, audiobooked the Graveyard Book (am planning to relisten to that soon) and I watched the film he wrote, Mirrormask. I even watched and quite liked the movie, Stardust, based on his novel of the same name. But I have never read any of his "adult" books.

They sound cool and look lovely (I love the cover to Stardust and I think the cover to Anansi Boys is kinda neat [who says "neat" nowadays? Am showing my age, me thinks]). But just never got round to reading them for several reasons. One is time. The second is that they look SCARY! As in scarily thick with SUPER tiny writing, not scary as jumping off the bookshelf and tries to eat your face off!

So, when my brother-in-law's sister Carla (here's her blog, FYI) lent me her copy of Neverwhere, I thought I should read it. And quickly. She is a family member and is just as passionate about books as I am. And we have quite similar tastes in books.

Anyway, Neverwhere. Neverwhere follows Richard who learns that no good deed goes unpunished. He and his fiancée come across a girl that is bleeding. Richard goes to help and that's when things get weird. The next day, it's as if he's turned invisible. No, not invisible. As if he has been completely wiped out of history. His flat is being let out while he's still there. His fiancée can't remember who is he, nor do the people at his work. And it seems to be all the fault of the girl he saved, Door. As he tries to get his life back, he discovers that there's another London - London Below - right under the city he calls home. But with assassins after Door, Richard hopes he can survive long enough to figure out how to get his life back…

Before I go any further, when I told people on Twitter that I was reading this, I accidently set up an debate on whether the book or the series (made for the BBC in the mid-1990s) was better. I didn't even know it was a TV series, let alone figure out which is better! So, please don’t ask me! I might try and investigate, but don't hold out much hope on that front… (Just checked Amazon. There's a copy of the DVD for less than a £5. Might have to investigate this further…)

Now, I have no idea how to write this as my head is spinning! Neverwhere has the feel of London. On Acid. That's right. It was very warped. It was almost like a modern day (yet completely bizarre) version of Alice in Wonderland but the world of London Below knows the existance of London Above (aka our London). But while I say that, there's something quite fairy-tale-like about it.

I quite liked it. I didn't love it and I'm not 100% certain why. There was something off-centre about it. Maybe it was Richard, though I liked him. Actually, thinking about it, I quite liked all the characters, goodie and baddie. There was something wonderful yet perfectly normal about them. I know that makes no sense, so let me explain. All the characters (expect Richard) belong to the London Below or Neverwhere so they live in a world where the normal isn't normal. And yet, they seem perfect for this world.

Maybe it was the fact that there were loose ends. There was one or two loose ends, which aren't huge things, but still they could have been tied up. Maybe I'm wanting too much. Want everything all neat and tidy. And I think I can understand why Neil left these hanging. But that's a theory and I'm not going to say them in case it spoils the book for other people who haven't read it…

But I like Neverwhere and, when I feel brave enough, I might try and read/audiobook another of Neil Gaiman's "adult" books. Although, now, am never going to look at the London Undergound in the same way… Especially Blackfriars and Shepherd's Bush…


  1. I think I prefer his younger books to his adult books. I enjoyed American Gods but definitely not as much as The Graveyard Book. I have had this one for ages and must read it soon.

  2. I love this book, it's one of my favourites. I think it has a really antiquated, almost Victorian feel to it and every time I visit London I am completely enchanted by the idea of the parallel world that Gaiman imagined below the streets. For something completely different, but excellent, you should try Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett very funny and surprisingly dark in places, it's a book I re-read every year.

  3. Great review! I know what you mean about the books looking scary. Ive had a copy of American Gods sat on my shelf since last Christmas and I cant bring myself to read it even though I love his books! I might have to get Neverwhere too... maybe it can be my treat once I've tackled American Gods! :D