Chat about... Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
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I tried reading this at Hatgirl's suggestion ages ago and didn't finish it. (Not a violent throwing the book at the wall non-finishing, a "I will finish this at some stage but this other book is shinier, as is this one and this one and this one....)
So I started again this time, and managed to actually get through it. (One of the things about this book club is that it is encouraging me to finish stuff that I'm "meh" about, rather than them lingering forever.) I'm still "meh" about it though.
I think this belongs (along with steampunk, actually) to the type of stuff that I should love but don't. Which means that it's hard for me to figure out why I don't really like it.
I loved the idea of turning a corner and finding another world and things that worked differently. I spent my youth thinking that that was going to happen (being bullied in school may have helped that wishfulness, then again I also wanted to be impressed by a dragon, but that's imagination for you)
But somehow it didn't quite work, it felt a bit like a dozen cool ideas thrown at a book that made more sense as a TV series or graphic novel but somehow didn't quite gel as a story. They were cool episodes but somehow not as good as it felt like it could be.
Maybe that was the biggest problem I had with it, it felt like there was a great book trying to escape an okay book.
We had a nice turnout at this Book Chat meet-up - myself, mollydot, antilles and brian_con (who I insisted on calling John for the evening).
I love Neverwhere. It's one of the rare occasions where I actually like the main character, rather than just tolerate them. Richard is just so nice. My favourite scene(s) (actually, one of my favourite scenes in all fiction) is the Cup Of Tea running gag - the monks being "tortured" by being forced to have a nice cup of tea with the people they know are about to die a horrible death, Richard asking if there's any more tea when he returns from the test, and the troll-doll fight at the end of the novel. I have no idea why it cracks me up so much.
I also love that Richard chooses to go back, and does get to return. And I can imagine all his adventures... I am actually glad Gaiman hasn't written a sequel!
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