Book Review: Neverwhere
By Neil Gaiman
400 pp. Harper Collins $8.99
This is the second Neil Gaiman book I read this year. The first, Ocean at the End of the Lane, was for book club. I read Neverwhere after listening to Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass course.
I picked this one up first because I wanted to analyze it as a writer. Second, because the idea of an invisible world beneath London sounded interesting. And third, because I’ve enjoyed his other books.
Neverwhere follows the story of Richard Mayhew who lives a fairly normal life in London. He has a beautiful fiancee and a boring-sounding job but doesn’t seem to be in want of anything. In fact, Richard’s biggest problem is that he’s got a good heart.
On the way to dinner with his fiancee’s boss, Richard sees a girl hurt on the street. No one else sees her, even his fiancee urges him on to just walk by. But Richard stops to help and soon finds himself invisible to his fellow Londoners including his fiancee and co-workers. His only way to get his life back is to descend into London Below.
What follows is a wildly imaginative adventure that thrusts Richard into a world of rat speakers, party trains, hired killers and an angel.
This book was thoroughly engaging. I loved the descriptions and suspense. But what I liked most was the depiction of Richard. His character was written as if the story was happening to a real person, with real reactions and fears and weaknesses. Gaiman didn’t thrust him into an unknown world and try to make him a hero.
I enjoyed the book’s simple yet deep descriptions both as a writer and a reader. The only thing better would have been to listen to Gaiman read it in an audiobook.