Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

ISBN: 0060557818
Pages: 372
Publisher: William  Morrow and Company
Genre: Fantasy fiction

Bestsellers: stardust, American gods

To those living on the world 'above' there is a London 'below' full of interesting, shocking, magical and cruel secrets. And on a fine evening just like that Richard Mayhew's life changes, for better or for worse, when he stops existing in the world 'above' and gets exposed to the world 'below'

She had been running for days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels. She was hungry, and exhausted, and more tired than a body could stand, and each successive door was proving harder to open. After four days of flight, she had found a hiding place, a tiny stone burrow, under the world, where she would be safe, or so she prayed, and at last she slept.
Mr. Croup had hired Ross at the last Floating Market, which had been held in Westminster Abbey. "Think of him," he told Mr. Vandemar, "as a canary."
"Sings?" asked Mr. Vandemar.
"I doubt it; I sincerely and utterly doubt it." Mr. Croup ran a hand through his lank orange hair. "No, my fine friend, I was thinking metaphoncally -- more along the lines of the birds they take down mines." Mr. Vandemar nodded, comprehension dawning slowly: yes, a canary. Mr. Ross had no other resemblance to a canary. He was huge-almost as big as Mr. Vandemar -- and extremely grubby, and quite hairless, and he said very little, although he had made a point of telling each of them that he liked to kill things, and he was good at it; and this amused Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. But he was a canary, and he never knew it. So Mr. Ross went first, in his filthy T-shirt and his crusted blue-jeans, and Croup and Vandemar walked behind him, in their elegant black suits.

Nightflier Speaks:
Neverwhere started as a fantasy fiction series on BBC. And during the show's transmission the creator Neil Gaiman, not too happy with its perception, started writing the novel. After re-writing it twice and making it suitable for non-londoners we have a book  whose cover aptly reads 'Author's preferred text'. I was recommending the animation movie Coraline to a friend when I looked up Wikipedia and read that its based on a Neil Gaiman story. I was hooked. Googled some more and that's how I ended up ordering Neverwhere.

The tale starts perfectly normally for Richard Mayhew, who is leading the most normal life in London 'above'. When one fine evening he encounters lady door and is sucked into the life in London 'below' eventually. Now they must venture on a journey together to solve some mystery and get Richard's normal life back! With exciting characters like, the Carabas, the hunter, cruel people like Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar , magical beings like the Angelus and rat speakers, the book is full of vivid imagination.

Moreover if you have ever been to London or are a Londoner, London will never feel the same to you. With all the allegories for places in London 'below' the book hits the creepy button inside your head. The author uses his rich imagination and weaves the plot around the place beautifully. And the book has magic. So there! The characters feel very real and the book is full of 'British sense of humor'. Thus the book keeps you engaged on several levels apart from very good storytelling.

A must read for fantasy fanatics!

Rating: 4/5
Price: Rs. 599 (Crossword)


  1. i have been eager to read neil gaiman's works ever since i saw stardust (thrice). i must check this one out asap! thanks for the the first neil gaiman review. :D

  2. you read neil gaiman!!??? woohoo!!! He is one of the best fantasy/scifi writers. yeah!!

    oh good, this book goes straight to my wishlist

  3. Arpita - Yeah very fresh writing plus love stardust and coraline :)

    freelancer - great! planning to read his other works too :)

  4. Never read Gaiman before .. must read this year .. also the movies mentioned would be downloaded too ! thanks for this lovely review and the background info :)


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