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

by Neil Gaiman

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19,54344082 (4.1)1 / 1024
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. 111
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (elbakerone, ahstrick)
  5. 90
    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.
  6. 101
    Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another urban fantasy vision of London.
  7. 90
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (riverwillow)
  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. 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).
  12. 117
    The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (derelicious)
  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. 31
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Steveh15)
  20. 20
    Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky (Navarone)

(see all 43 recommendations)

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English (423)  German (5)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All (1)  All (440)
Showing 1-5 of 423 (next | show all)
This was the first non-comic book work of Neil Gaiman's that I read, and it remains one of my favorites. I love Gaiman's worlds. They are full of a deeper magic than most.

Mostly, I love the idea of London Below, a secret world with its own rules that runs parallel to our world, the "Above," but seems almost like another plane of reality all together. Following Richard on his trip down Alice's rabbit hole after saving Door is an incredible adventure. It's urban fantasy at its best.

One of the most interesting things about Neverwhere is how Gaiman uses the real locations of London as the backdrop, but takes each and turns it completely on its head in London Below. Also, Gaiman has a way of creating these characters that stick with you long after the story is done, leaving you hungering for more. I would welcome a hundred more stories from London Below, either with the fantastically colorful character introduced here, or with a whole new batch of faces that are bound to be just as fascinating. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jan 15, 2017 |
Decent audiobook for running / commuting, and I'm excited to see the quirky 90s British miniseries now. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
One of the first urban fantasies I think, certainly written much before the current trend for them developed. As such it should be appreciated for the inventiveness of London Below, and the actual research Gaiman took to develop it - visiting physical sewer systems is probably beyond most author's commitment. But as such it doesn't quite know where it's pitched - somewhere between YA and adult, being very simplistic in themes and motivations of characters, and much more about showing off London Below and the denizens thereof, but then containing some quite graphic violence in places. The other notable characteristic is that it was first written as a TV series and only later adapted as a novel. This edition is the 2nd adaption, and the authors final definitive text. I normally avoid such things, as the author tends not to know as well as an editor how much cutting back is needed - but here there is no obvious excess verbosity. However the TV adaption still shows through and you can quite easily feel in the reading where the gaps between episodes lie. They are particularly easy places to put the book down.

The story follows one Richard Mayhew, a perfectly ordinary accountant, who one night on the way to dinner with his girlfriend and her boss, stops to help a collapsed and bleeding girl they encounter on the street. Her name is Door, and it turns out she is being chased by two less than ordinary beings. This interaction is enough to remove Richard from the ordinary world, and leave him 'Below' in the place where people who fall through the gaps in society end up. There is no going back. But with a little help from some friends Richard manages to find Door again, and aid her on her Quest Journey to reclaim the Key that will allow her to revenge herself on her family's killers.

It's fun, and the inhabitants of the Below and weird and wonderful, but overall it's very thin, there's one slight ambiguity of plotting - who's the traitor? - and that's it. Everything else is straightforward, follow from A to B. Few characters even re-appear. Inventive, and generally regarded as one of Gaiman's better works, but really not suited to a novel format. I'm glad I read it as a hallmark and foundation of modern fantasy, but there are better stories out there.

This particular edition, in addition to being the revised text is also wonderfully illustrated, with pencil drawings working into and around most of the pages. These are perhaps more captivating than the story. ( )
  reading_fox | Jan 7, 2017 |
Such a lovely book but now I have to read everything else he wrote. ( )
  WillemBasson | Jan 5, 2017 |
I enjoyed this more than the previous Neil Gaiman book I read (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), but I did feel like many of the same themes were repeated (or maybe that's the author's voice narrating the audiobook?). Either way, I'm finding that I'm just not a Neil Gaiman fan despite enjoying the fantasy genre and having many friends with similar taste who enjoy his work. It's hard to put my finger on what exactly I don't like, but I seem to finish these books with a feeling a mild depression about the characters' lives, rather than satisfaction that all the loose plot ends were tied up. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Dec 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 423 (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
Mcginnis, RobertCover artistsecondary 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 (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 7 descriptions

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