Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
I don’t write traditional book reviews (maybe there isn’t really such a thing). I pick a book that I’ve read and do a bit of written rambling about it. Whatever comes to mind falls to the page. Please don’t be offended by this, it’s just what happens.
First of all a comment on Mr. Gaiman’s writing:
There is a certain quality to it that I love. There’s a quality to the narration that is rare yet wonderful. There is a similarity (at least in my view) with Philip Pullman (See my review of the Book of Dust Volume 2) and it makes for some of the best storytelling imaginable.
The way the words are strung together, one after the other, they form such a cohesive whole that I find myself drawn straight into the story, straight into the world that is being built. Masterful.
So, while I am writing particularly about Neverwhere here, there is so much more to explore (most especially, but not limited to, American Gods and Ocean at the End of the Lane as my next favorites.)
Neverwhere. Already the name draws you in. A superb name as far as I’m concerned. You are being taken somewhere, but it’s not really somewhere.
Richard Mayhew moves from Scotland down to London. I’m not sure why he did that, I prefer it in Scotland. Nonetheless it is lucky for us he did, for I don’t think the same adventure could have occurred in that small Scottish village.
This novel is one of those that I can read again and again. It is something like imagination incarnate. A world brought fully to life. A world that we would somehow love to be real, even though we sort of wouldn’t. A world I’d love to visit, yet would be terrified to visit, and so having it there, wrapped up in a novel, makes the journey an easy one. It’s the type of story I hope to eventually write myself. Well crafted, perceptive, creative.
One passage in the book stands out in my memory – and I think it illustrates my point on the quality of the narration:
“A voice came over the loudspeaker, that formal, disembodied male voice that warned, ‘Mind the Gap.’ It was intended to keep unwary passengers from stepping into the space between the train and the platform. Richard, like most Londoners, barely heard it any more – it was like aural wallpaper. But, suddenly, Hunter’s hand was on his arm. ‘Mind the Gap,’ she said urgently, to Richard.”
(I won’t spoil what actually happens)
It was this novel that also introduced me to the word “elfin” for the first time. A word I have wanted to use ever since and yet have never managed to accomplish. In case you’re not sure it means: (of a person or their face) small and delicate, typically with a mischievous charm. – what a great word! Elfin was used to describe Door (Also a great choice of name!) – the character that sets Richard Mayhew on his unexpected and yet life defining journey to London Below.
Everything about it fascinates – from the mysterious Gap (“Mind the Gap” as mentioned above) to the Angel in Islington. Not to mention the Earl on the train. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about – a read of this book is in order!
It is masterfully done fantasy and a book that is well worth getting immersed in.
That’s about all I can say without diving into the story – and that wouldn’t be fair!
I strongly suggest you read it and have included a link here so you can find it on amazon (No, I don’t get paid if you buy it)
As always – keep reading (hopefully read my book – The Hunt – as well, links are all over the place.)
And if you have already ready my book – please leave me a review on amazon!