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Neverwhere

A fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman based on a BBC miniseries which he wrote.

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"...Immortal hate and courage never to submit or yield"

  • Dec 7, 2006
Rating:
+5
Gaiman's horror is as chilling as it gets. In the midst of this fantasy-adventure tale, we must either avert our eyes or confront evil straight on in its multiple forms, one of them quite beautiful. "Neverwhere" is London-below, a dark, rat-infested series of tunnels, caverns, and time-bubbles, filled with sewage, mud, gore, and bits of historical London that never quite went away. The ragged people who live there have somehow slipped through the cracks of London-above. As always, the strong prey on the weak. Some of them use magic to control their ravenous gangs. Some of them do evil for the sake of Evil.

Readers who don't like fantasy because of the overworked magician/dragon theme should read "Neverwhere" anyway--just call it a work of magical reality. It certainly offers unusual perspectives of London. Somehow our 21st century London-above has become a city of blurred, boring citizens, leading safe, blank lives. London-below is peopled with real characters, both good and evil. Some of them die awful deaths. Some of them eat the heads off of live pigeons (an old carny trick, at least until the RSPCA got busy).

At least one of them comes back from the dead.

Gaiman's hero, Richard Mayhew is a sweet, over-grown boy, henpecked by his type-A fiancée in London-above. When he rescues a ragged waif who almost bleeds to death on his dinner jacket, he slips into London-below and ends up on a quest for a holy artifact that couldn't even exist in his wildest, above-London dreams. A pair of ghastly villains, the Burke and Hare of London-below pursue Richard and his brave companions as they work their way closer and closer to the Beast out of civilization's dark prehistory, and their confrontation with the ultimate Evil.

"Neverwhere"s ending is just right, its chief villain is satisfyingly and totally evil, and its hero finally bumbles into the right decision on how to live the rest of his life. This fantasy in a sense is the sequel to Milton's "Paradise Lost" although the ending is Gaiman's alone.

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More Neverwhere reviews
review by . June 21, 2010
While living a relatively boring and unsatisfying yet normal life in London, Richard Mayhew finds himself thrust into a bizarre and magical underworld all because he stopped to help an injured and bleeding young woman named Door.  These two worlds, London Above and London Below exist at the same time and yet the people who are a part of each world live very different lives.  Richard finds himself reluctantly involved with Door's quest to find out what happened to her family while …
review by . August 03, 2010
Magical mystery tour
   All London office worker Richard Mayhew tried to do that evening was help a damsel in distress, but he got more - way more - than he bargained for. Neil Gaiman has spun another magical mystery tour from the elements of the mythological quest paradigm. Underworlds, eternity, horrific beasts to be slain, labyrinths, immortality, heroes and antiheroes - it's all here in modern form, but nothing crucial really changes, does it? Reading this book is like watching a movie in your head. …
review by . August 11, 2010
There and back again
   All London office worker Richard Mayhew tried to do that evening was help a damsel in distress, but he got more - way more - than he bargained for. Neil Gaiman has spun another magical mystery tour from the elements of the mythological quest paradigm. Underworlds, eternity, horrific beasts to be slain, labyrinths, immortality, heroes and antiheroes - it's all here in modern form, but nothing crucial really changes, does it? Reading this book is like watching a movie in your head. …
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
This book is fantastic. It is a world within the world. Very well written.
Quick Tip by . July 11, 2010
My absolute favorite by Neil Gaiman. London Below is the shadow city that exists just beyond the reach of normal perception. The villains make my skin crawl. Richard Mayhew earns my respect as the classic anti-hero who steps beyond his fears to meet the bizarre challenges of an alternate reality. Door is winsome and gifted. I want to help her. I want her to succeed. And the story itself grabbed me by the collar and dragged me full-speed towards a stunning and satisfying conclusion.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
The writing isn't Gaiman's best,but the story and the ideas are up there.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
If you enjoy Hellboy, check this out.
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Neil Gaiman creates a truly fascinating world in this novel.
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
Gaiman is an amazing, creative author. I really enjoy his work. He always seems to bring some new viewpoint on something that you have looked at a million times before.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
One of my favorites of Neil Gaiman's (it is hard to pick just one favorite!!) Amazingly written! Characters are very interesting and I adore Gaiman's way of writing!
About the reviewer
Elaine Lovitt ()
I'm a retired geek whose goal is to move to Discworld and apprentice myself to Granny Weatherwax. I have degrees in Astronomy and Computer Science, but was seduced by the Dark Side a few years before … more
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Product Description
Richard Mayhew is a plain man with a good heart -- and an ordinary life that is changed forever on a day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. From that moment forward he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed -- a dark subculture flourish in abandoned subway stations and sewer tunnels below the city -- a world far stranger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known...Richard Mayhew is a young businessman with a good heart and a dull job. When he stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternate reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations below the city. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the author of the New York Times bestselling children's book Coraline and of the picture books The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean. He wrote the script for the film MirrorMask and is also the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning novels and short stories for adults, as well as the Sandman series of graphic novels. Among his many awards are the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Bram Stoker Award. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United

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Details

ISBN-10: 2277260029
ISBN-13: 978-2277260028
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Publisher: J'ai lu
Date Published: November 1, 1998
Format: Novel
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