Neverwhere

June 22nd, 2005 § 2 comments

As I had mentioned in a previous entry, it didn’t take me long to buy Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. As I had wrote too, American Gods was better than it.

It’s not that American Gods is better written than Neverwhere. It’s more that Neverwhere seems to be an introduction or a first attempt to what would be American Gods later. Both stories have so much in common that reading them in such a short time span made me pay more attention to some of the flaws of the book than I would had otherwise.

That said, Neverwhere is a good book. Neil Gaiman once again shows his talent as a teller of modern fairy tales, whose magic is explicit in every page. It’s impossible not to be fascinated and surprised at the situations and characters Gaiman paints in the pages of Neverwhere. Even being a much smaller book than American Gods, it achieves the same verisimilitude of the latter in terms of world-building.

Nevewhere tells the story of Richard Mayhew, and Englishman who leaves the country for a job in London, searching for a better life. He succeeded and his quiet life in London seems to be heading to the right place: he has a good job, the perfect fiancĂ©e, and everything is going well. Until, in a fateful night, he finds a girl lying on the sidewalk near his home. She is hurt and afraid, and he helps her, which transforms his whole life. Suddenly, nobody seems to know — or even see — him, except for the mysterious inhabitants of another London, London Below. Recruited for a cause in which he doesn’t believe, Mayhew needs to learn to deal with the dangerous world of which he’s part now if he expects to survive the day.

In his London Below, Gaiman creates a convincing vision of London’s underworld: an extraordinary place filled with mythical creatures whose lives flow at the margins of London Above. As with other famous cities of literature, London Below is complex and multifaceted, with surprised sprouting from every dark corner. Obviously, a London reader will see much more than I saw, but Gaiman is careful enough to make most of the references readily understandable in the international version of the book.

After I had read the book, I wanted to see the TV series in which it was based but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. Even being for a different medium, such visual version would have been interesting to see.

With another of Gaiman’s books in my collection, it’s time to buy Coraline, which I’ll do as soon as I finished the other books I’m reading now. Judging by everything I read from Gaiman until, I won’t be disappointed.

§ 2 Responses to Neverwhere"

  • Small Paul says:

    The TV series wasn’t particularly well-received by the mainstream or genre press at the time. The BBC shot it on video, which made it look a bit naff.

    Haven’t seen it myself.

  • Ronaldo says:

    Well, since I don’t seem myself seeing anytime soon since I live in Brazil, I guess I’m not missing much then…

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