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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
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Neverwhere (original 1996; edition 2005)

by Neil Gaiman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,21343184 (4.1)1 / 993
Member:elimatta
Title:Neverwhere
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:Headline Review (2005), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:library books read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction

Work details

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (1996)

  1. 269
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although Neverwhere and The Hitchhiker's Guide (THHG) are different genres (the first is urban fantasy, the second comic science-fiction) I felt there was a lot of similarity between the characters of Richard Mayhew (in Neverwhere) and Arthur Dent (in THHG). Both are a kind of everyman with whom the reader can identify and both embody a certain 'Britishness'. And they're both stonkingly good books by British authors.… (more)
  2. 192
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (WilliamPascoe)
    WilliamPascoe: Phenominally brilliant fantasy .
  3. 140
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (elbakerone)
  4. 121
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (elbakerone, ahstrick)
  5. 101
    Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another urban fantasy vision of London.
  6. 90
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (riverwillow)
  7. 80
    Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (riverwillow)
    riverwillow: Both 'Neverwhere' and 'Rivers of London' (US title 'Midnight Riot') evoke a magical fairy tale London which sometimes feels more authentic then any real life guide to the city.
  8. 113
    Good Omens by Terry Pratchett (Pigletto)
  9. 70
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass and Alice's Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll (sturlington)
    sturlington: Neverwhere is a lot like a grown-up's Wonderland, and the two stories have a similar, surrealistic feel.
  10. 40
    Gloriana by Michael Moorcock (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Both fantasy titles explore the seedy underbelly of London, one in Tudor times, the other more recently in London Below.
  11. 117
    The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (derelicious)
  12. 51
    Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green (Phantasma)
    Phantasma: The nightside novels are a little darker, but if you like the ideas presented in Neverwhere, you'll most likely enjoy the Nightside (actually, I prefer the Nightside and it's gritty dark humor).
  13. 30
    The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia (elbakerone, parasolofdoom)
  14. 74
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher (Polenth)
  15. 30
    Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (Jannes)
    Jannes: For all your "supernatural secrets in the London underground"-needs.
  16. 20
    The Water Room by Christopher Fowler (benfulton)
    benfulton: Explorations of the hidden parts of London.
  17. 20
    The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (MsMaryAnn)
  18. 20
    Gog by Andrew Sinclair (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Fantasy mixing late 20th century London with fairytale, myth and menace.
  19. 20
    Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky (Navarone)
  20. 31
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Steveh15)

(see all 43 recommendations)

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English (416)  German (5)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (433)
Showing 1-5 of 416 (next | show all)
Richard was living a regular life - engaged to his fiancee, Jessica, and working a good job. But one day, he stopped to help a bleeding girl in the street. Little did he know, that one action would change his life forever. Suddenly, he seemed invisible - Jessica broke up with him, he no longer had a job, people literally didn't see him. He had "fallen through the cracks". He turns up in "London Below", with others who had fallen through the cracks, looking for the girl, Door, to help him. Door, meanwhile, is on her own quest to avenge her murdered family.

I really liked this. I was drawn in from the start, and though a couple of places/characters didn't interest me quite as much, overall, I really enjoyed it. It's right up there with The Graveyard Book as one of my favourites by Gaiman (though I've only read four so far). My copy also had a reader's discussion section at the end that started with a short, but interesting, interview with Gaiman. ( )
1 vote LibraryCin | Jun 27, 2016 |
When Richard Mayhew tries to help an injured girl, his world is irrevocably changed. Richard is plunged into a shadow world of magic and danger. All he wants is to find his way home again. Unfortunately, he may not live long enough to realize that goal...

I very much enjoyed this book. It has a lot of the hallmarks of a fantasy hero's quest, but with excellent writing and character development. One of the things that I noticed was that Richard Mayhew reminded me strongly of Arthur Dent (of the Hitchhiker's Guide series), and I wondered if, this being an early Gaiman, evidence of the works that might have influenced him was showing through -- or maybe the bumbling but well-meaning Englishman is just such a recognizable type that I couldn't help but be reminded of similar characters. Something that I particularly liked about this book was that the danger seemed real, which is not always the case with fantasy novels. I was never quite sure if the main character and his companions would make it out in one piece (and maybe they do, maybe they don't -- I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may not have read it)!

I listened to the audiobook, but not the full-cast one. Mine was narrated by Gaiman himself, who is, as one would expect, a fairly skilled narrator as well as a good writer. I did notice a tendency to drop his inflection at the end of a sentence, which made it difficult to catch a word here or there, but all in all, a very good production. Recommended. ( )
  foggidawn | Jun 23, 2016 |
An interesting story ( )
  Shadow494 | Jun 20, 2016 |
It was a good book. I'm glad I have read it. Gaiman created a fantastic world. But for me, something is missing to give it a higher grade. And the biggest problem I have with the book is that the characters felt a bit flat. I just didn't care much for anyone of them. A great book makes you care for the characters, suffer with them all the way, and mourn for them if something happens. It just didn't happen with me with this book. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jun 14, 2016 |

“I mean, maybe I am crazy. I mean, maybe. But if this is all there is, then I don't want to be sane.”

Neverwhere – what genre to call it? Difficult to define – the popular shelf label is Urban Fantasy, but to me it’s not quite that since it takes place mainly in a fantasy setting. Horror is certainly present, especially from the diabolical hands of the twisted villains, complete with gory tidbits. Ultimately I’m settling on Dark Fantasy since it’s more of an adult fairytale with horror twists.

This was my first read of Gaiman, and I have to say I’m impressed – he has a colorful way of weaving scenes where they’re burned firmly in your psyche without having to dig into the bag of excessive descriptions and tedious derailing. Some of the sentences are downright poetic, but the bulk of the writing is straightforward polish.

Characters are another successful feat. Richard, a good person overruled in his personal life by those more aggressive, works well as the lead when he’s absorbed into this distasteful world. The Marquis was varied with his scope of being both likeable and unlikeable; his scenes proved he was one of the better characters with his dry humor and never knowing quite where you stood with him. Not knowing whether he could be trusted, not sure which side he was on till the end, made him stand out as a delight to read about.

Croup and Vandemar are some of the more unique villains I’ve had the pleasure of reading. They’re insane but almost amusing with their bizarre dialogues, viewpoints, and personality oddities – clever with their killing and torture ability, top notch at finding their prey, and able to create chills for the reader when they’re zooming in on their victims. I never saw some of the surprises with who they ended up working with.

While rich in fairy tale fantasy, it’s not confusing if you keep reading, the world being a complex build of chilling monstrosities (especially that bridge of darkness), creative otherworldly beings (rat speakers and the twists of raising the rats to a higher level in London of all places...), and fantastical elements including angels, secret doors, and created portals.

Pacing comes in an even hand, there’s heavily applied suspense during nail-biting scenes, and there are plenty of surprises to wrap scenes with. The ending choice on Richard’s size wasn’t a surprise, but even with the boring life he’s returning to, I doubt I’d have chosen the same fate as he did.

Definitely worth a read – will be checking out more of the author’s work in the near future.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 416 (next | show all)
Gaiman blends history and legend to fashion a traditional tale of good versus evil, replete with tarnished nobility, violence, wizardry, heroism, betrayal, monsters and even a fallen angel. The result is uneven. His conception of London Below is intriguing, but his characters are too obviously symbolic (Door, for example, possesses the ability to open anything). Also, the plot seems a patchwork quilt of stock fantasy images. Adapted from Gaiman's screenplay for a BBC series, this tale would work better with fewer words and more pictures.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly (May 19, 1997)
 
The novel is consistently witty, suspenseful, and hair-raisingly imaginative in its contemporary transpositions of familiar folk and mythic materials (one can read Neverwhere as a postmodernist punk Faerie Queene). Readers who've enjoyed the fantasy work of Tim Powers and William Browning Spencer won't want to miss this one. And, yes, Virginia, there really are alligators in those sewers--and Gaiman makes you believe it.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews
 
The millions who know The Sandman, the spectacularly successful graphic novel series Gaiman writes, will have a jump start over other fantasy fans at conjuring the ambience of his London Below, but by no means should those others fail to make the setting's acquaintance. It is an Oz overrun by maniacs and monsters, and it becomes a Shangri-La for Richard. Excellent escapist fare.
added by Shortride | editBooklist, Ray Olson
 
Gaiman's gift for mixing the absurd with the frightful give this novel the feeling of a bedtime story with adult sophistication. Readers will find themselves as unable to escape this tale as the characters themselves.
added by Shortride | editLibrary Journal
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, Neilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Althoff, Gerlindesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berggren, Hanssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bickman, KelliAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braiter, PaulinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fabry, GlennIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halperin, AmyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hohl, Tinasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivimäki, MikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcel, Patricksecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Osyczka, DanEndpaper mapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pék, ZoltánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rijsewijk, Erica vansecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villa, ElisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vojtková, LadislavaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I have never been to St. John's Wood. I dare not. I should be afraid of the innumerable night of fir trees, afraid to come upon a blood red cup and the beating of the wings of the Eagle.
--The Napoleon of Notting Hill, G. K. Chesterton
If ever though gavest hosen or shoon
Then every night and all
Sit thou down and put them on
And Christ receive thy soul

This aye night, this aye night
Every night and all
Fire and fleet and candlelight
And Christ receive thy soul

If ever thou gavest meat or drink
Then every night and all
The fire shall never make thee shrink
And Christ receive thy soul

--The Lyke Wake Dirge (traditional)
Dedication
For Lenny Henry, friend and colleague, who made it happen all the way; and Merrilee Heifetz, friend and agent, who makes everything good.
First words
The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.
She had been running for four days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels.
Quotations
"It starts with doors."
"You've a good heart," she told him. "Sometimes that's enough to see you safe wherever you go." Then she shook her head. "But mostly, it's not."
There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; secnod, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelry; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.
He continued, slowly, by a process of osmosis and white knowledge (which is like white noise, only more useful)...
It was a good place, and a fine city, but there is a price to be paid for all good places, and a price that all good places have to pay.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is main work for the book Neverwhere. It should not be combined with the TV series on which it is based.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew and his adventures through London. At the start of the story, he is a young businessman, with a normal life. All this changes, however, when he stops to help a mysterious young girl who appears before him, bleeding and weakened, as he walks with his fiancée to dinner to meet her influential boss.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060557818, Paperback)

Neverwhere's protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis of Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but Neil Gaiman's humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them. Gaiman is definitely not just for graphic-novel fans anymore. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:19 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

After he helps a stranger on a London sidewalk, Richard Mayhew discovers an alternate city beneath London, and must fight to survive if he is to return to the London he knew.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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