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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere (original 1996; edition 2005)

by Neil Gaiman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,38243582 (4.1)1 / 1013
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:Headline Review (2005), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:library books read

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. 111
    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 (419)  German (5)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (436)
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
One of the best fantasy books I've read. ( )
  avalinah | Sep 11, 2016 |
How to describe Neverwhere...strange, unique, and bizarre in a fascinating way. I've read a lot of books that are "out there" but Neverwhere might top the list. Authors have to have great imaginations to create stories to begin with but Gaiman's imagination tops the charts. Neverwhere deserves 5 stars for the setting and for creativity. I gave it fewer because the characters were funny and eccentric yet I never felt fully invested in them. Regardless, I will be adding more of his novels to my TBR list.

3.5/5 ( )
  Amanda105 | Sep 5, 2016 |
Re-read this after, oh, at least 10 years for a book club this week. It had never occurred to me back then how much of London Under seems to be based on Henry Mayhew's classic journalism on the East End, collected into London Labour and the London Poor. What's my first clue? The protagonist Richard Mayhew. In any case, it was enjoyable this time around, with the snappy pace I remember. The plot seemed a little thinner this time ... I've enjoyed other London-based fantasy or mystery, e.g., Ben Aronovitch or Christopher Fowler, more. It felt as though Gaiman was throwing everything he could think of into the mix, without it all being necessary (I'm thinking of the Beast of London - kinda weak). ( )
  stringcat3 | Aug 28, 2016 |
I found this to be pretty boring. The only part I liked was when they mentioned curry food, but then again I was hungry. ( )
  CosimaS | Jul 3, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 419 (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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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)
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.
"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 (2)

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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