Easily one of my favourite Neil Gaiman books – so much so that just thinking about it makes me wish he had a new novel out right now. I’d read it immediately.
Well, turns out he does (I first wrote this review earlier in the year and posted it on my poetry blog).
Back to Neverwhere. In this wonderful book readers are given a brilliant mix of comic, dark, surreal and fantastical elements as they follow the out-of-his-depth Richard Mayhew through the mysteries and horrors of an otherworldly ‘London Below’ in his efforts to save the mysterious girl known as ‘Door.’
Now, I know it’s a cliche, but I found it tough to put this down. Really tough. I generally annoyed those around me with my distracted state and I think everyone was pretty happy when I finished it and was able to listen properly again. And that's each time I read it.
Part of what enthralled me most was the way Gaiman interwove the ‘real’ world with the magical one below. It was always entertaining and often surprising. I didn’t expect the oddities of the Floating Market or Marquis de Carabas’ endless supply of cleverness. And I didn’t expect the wonderful evocation of loneliness the book achieved when Richard was ‘above’ either. Certainly there was action and suspense, but Neverwhere is often a touching story too – Gaiman has a knack for getting to the core of a character very quickly, often through his wit and use of dialogue.
Reading it again I do wish I’d been to London. That way I could experience the extra layers of meaning he evokes when using (often in an amusing way) recognisable places like Earl’s Court or ‘Night’s Bridge’. Of course, it’s not a requirement to enjoying the story and in the meantime I can always read it again, right?
Five stars indeed.
Free ebook with every newsletter sign up in 2016
Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline