Neverwhere

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on March 31, 2008

I'm a recent inductee to the Neil Gaiman admiration society, joining after watching the movie and reading the book "Stardust." After finishing Stardust, I dove into "Neverwhere," a story that takes place in London Above and London Below. London Above is what you see on the telly, movies, etc. London Below is an alternate reality where Islington is an Angel, Blackfriars station is where black Friars protect a magical key and Knightsbridge is a dangerous place where the night can steal you away. There's some magic here, but it's not witches and wizards so much is as it is that names have real meaning.

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, your typical cubicle-dweller who is dating a woman who is a little out of his league. One evening, on the way to an important dinner with his girlfriend and her boss, Mayhew notices a homeless girl who is hurt and bleeding. Just by noticing someone whom most people overlook, Mayhew is thrust into a kind of half-life where people no longer notice him and London Below -- with all its unique dangers -- becomes his home.

The girl Mayhew rescues is named Door. Not Doreen, Door. She is a member of one of London Below's aristocratic families -- and her entire family has been murdered. The murderers, two assassins by the names of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, had almost gotten Door when she escaped and Mayhew stumbled upon her.

Neverwhere is about Door's quest to find out who ordered her family killed and Mayhew's effort to return to London Above. It's a well-written and compelling story.

One of the things I really like about Gaiman's writing is his choice of names. In Stardust, the King's seven sons were named Primus, Secondus, Tertius, Quartus, etc. The king's only daughter was named Una.

In Neverwhere, you have the aforementioned Door, her father was named Portico and she has a brother named Arch.

Neverwhere is well worth a read.

0 comments on “Neverwhere”

  1. Make sure you read American Gods. Its my favorite novel by Gaiman, and one of my favorite books, ever. Well worth the time.

  2. American Gods is very well written too, but not my favorite Gaiman book. If you don't mind co-authored books, he did one with Terry Pratchett (another fantastic writer with a great wit!) YEARS ago called Good Omens that takes a humorous look at the book of Revelations in the modern world. Anansi boys is also very well written. I am currently reading his selection of short stories. They are a little more out there than his novels, but show his style and panache.

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