Matt’s Reviews: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Book Cover: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

  • Publisher:                       HARPER AUDIO
  • Publication date:           11/01/2007
  • Format:                           Compact Disc
  • Number of Discs:          10
  • Recording Time:           12 1/2 hours
  • Print Copyright Year:  1997
  • Recording Copyright: 2007
  • ISBN:                              978-0-06-231431-4
  • Author:                           Neil Gaiman
  • Read By:                        Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is another amazing book by the master of urban fantasy.  Gaiman creates a world adjacent to, or below, modern London where common place names take on a whole new meaning and fantastical depth. 

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good life in London.  He has a nice little flat and beautiful fiance.  He has a good job and he is reasonably good at it, even if he has a tendency to miss some details and some deadlines.  He has a good heart and a good, if ordinary life.  On the way to dinner with his fiance, they come across an injured, apparently homeless, girl.  Much to his fiance’s dismay at being late for dinner with her boss, he decides to stop and help her.  His little act of kindness helping the girl named ‘Door’ leads to him losing his fiance, his job and his ordinary life.  He gets sucked into “London Below” where people speak with rats, there is a real earl at Earl’s Court, and the world is populated with people and things that have ‘fallen through the cracks’.  By helping a little too much he has become one of them. 

Richard becomes a tag-along with the young lady, Door, her associate the Marquis de Carabas, and their hired bodyguard, Hunter.  Door wants to find out who killed her family.  He just wants to find a way back to his old life.  He becomes more and more involved in the adventure as they move through the dreamlike and nightmare world of London Below.  They encounter monsters and beasts and angels and people who are not quite people, some who help them, some who hinder them, and some who do both.  

I love the way Gaiman makes you believe in a world near our own but twisted and bizarre.  He did this in The Ocean At The End of the Lane with the Hempstock Farm and everything in and adjacent to that.   He did it with Stardust with the realm beyond the wall.  Here in Neverwhere, London Below echoes London Above.  Both are rich full cities, rich full universes.  The story keeps moving and driving and twisting and turning and takes you on a roller coaster ride through and below both Londons.  Will Door find out who killed her family?  Will Richard ever get his life back?  Will  Messrs Croup and Vandemar catch up to them and do the horrible things that they so enjoy?  And what is this Beast of London? So many questions and so much fun riding along to find out the answers. 

By the way, this novel is based on a British television serial of the same name also written by Gaiman.  The TV series is OK, but the novel is much much better and much richer. If you want to watch the series, read the book before you do.  The universe in my head while reading (actually listening) was much more satisfying than the one they created with cameras.


For a more traditional science fiction thriller about the perils of technology run amok, Plastivore by Matt Truxaw

Book Cover: Plastivore by Matt Truxaw

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