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.
In Neverwhere 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 the 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.
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 so I could experience the extra layers of meaning he evokes when using (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.