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Neverwhere: A Novel by Neil Gaiman
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Neverwhere: A Novel (edition 2003)

by Neil Gaiman

Series: London Below (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,505526116 (4.1)1 / 1147
Richard Mayhew's life is forever changed after he rescues a young girl named Door and finds himself living in a city of monsters, saints, murderers, and angels, and he must help Door on her mission to save this strange underworld kingdom from destruction.
Member:Lkraustx
Title:Neverwhere: A Novel
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:Harper Perennial (2003), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

  1. 222
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (WilliamPascoe)
    WilliamPascoe: Phenominally brilliant fantasy .
  2. 160
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (elbakerone)
  3. 2510
    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)
  4. 121
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (elbakerone, ahstrick)
  5. 111
    Kraken by China Miéville (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another urban fantasy vision of London.
  6. 100
    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.
  7. 91
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (riverwillow)
  8. 80
    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.
  9. 84
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher (Polenth)
  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. 40
    Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (Jannes)
    Jannes: For all your "supernatural secrets in the London underground"-needs.
  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
    Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky (Navarone)
  14. 30
    The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia (elbakerone, parasolofdoom)
  15. 20
    The Mysteries by Lisa Tuttle (ehines)
    ehines: Regular guy stumbles into the secret realm. In Neverwhere this secret realm is very much a London one; in the Mysteries it is decidedly an old Celtic one. Also Never where turns into a full-blown fantasy adventure, while the Mysteries stays mostly realistic.
  16. 20
    The Water Room by Christopher Fowler (benfulton)
    benfulton: Explorations of the hidden parts of London.
  17. 31
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Steveh15)
  18. 20
    Gog by Andrew Sinclair (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Fantasy mixing late 20th century London with fairytale, myth and menace.
  19. 42
    The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar (themephi)
  20. 20
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (Headinherbooks_27, Headinherbooks_27)

(see all 45 recommendations)

Ghosts (25)
1990s (194)
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» See also 1147 mentions

English (509)  German (5)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (528)
Showing 1-5 of 509 (next | show all)
I read the book, then watched the BBC series and I must say that I liked the series a little better. It seems that this story really does better with the visuals then the bare text.

The basic plot has an Alice in Wonderland quality with typical, understated British humor. The main character, Richard Mayhew, begins the story as a listless man who, despite having the 'good-life' finds something lacking in his existence. A chance encounter with one of the denizens of 'London Below' (Lady Door) pulls him into a shadowy and magical world that coexists with, and is invisible to, our real "London Above.' What follows is a typical journey of self-discovery ... Only Richard doesn't really stop being a putz until the end.

London Below appears to be the stomping ground for our dreams and nightmares where everything is surreal ... It also brings to mind the homeless within our cities in that when were aren't ignoring them (ie. not invisible), it is not uncommon to see them displaying symptoms of mental illness (talking to other invisible persons, rats, etc.). Add this up with a touch of word play and you get a very humorous trip into what seems to be a mental breakdown, trapping Richard within his unconscious or primitive mind where he can discover and become the hero that was denied him in the real world. Gaiman never really exploits the potential questions which arise from his brief foray into insanity, but then I don't think this was intended to be that serious a story either ... It was supposed to be fun and I did enjoy it much like I enjoyed Monty Python's Holy Grail. ( )
  Kris.Larson | Sep 13, 2021 |
Great as always. I love books that leave you with a smile. ( )
  jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |
Excellent - although gritty - modern retelling of Alice in Wonderland, in my opinion ( )
  sigshane | Aug 31, 2021 |
Neverwhere is an excellent example of the 'hidden world' sort of urban fantasy--where someone, often from our own world stumbles upon a door or falls through the cracks and finds themselves in another world, just off the beaten track from our own. Harry Potter. Narnia.

There are a lot of amusing uses of language, particularly in taking the London Underground stops literally. Earl's Court is literally the Court of an (the?) Earl of London Underground. Blackfriars houses the Monastery of the Black Friars. It's a really neat way to tie the real world into something alltogether more fantastical.

After that, the characters are fascinating. Messrs Coup and Vandermar are the stereotypical odd couple assassins for hire--is that a thing?--one wordy, one bitey. Door is the mystical princess who opens doors. Hunter hunts things. Marquis de Carabas is... just odd. Honestly, the least ineteresting character is probably the protagonist Richard. He's not much of an active protagonist. He just sort of gets dragged along for the ride. It sort of works though.

Plotwise, nothing is hugely surprising, but there are enough slight variations to keep one interested.

Overall, it's an excellent read. I highly recommended it. ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Richard Mayhew is on his way to meet his fiancee's boss for dinner, when he rescues a young woman, who seems to have been stabbed, only to find that he has lost everything in London Above and is cast into London Below. The young woman is on a quest to determine who was behind the slaughter of her family, and Richard throws in with her to battle the forces of darkness, where betrayal runs deep. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 509 (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
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, Neilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Althoff, Gerlindesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berggren, Hanssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braiter, PaulinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Alessandro, JaimeAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fabry, GlennIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faerna, MónicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halperin, AmyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hohl, TinaTranslatorsecondary 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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Richard Mayhew's life is forever changed after he rescues a young girl named Door and finds himself living in a city of monsters, saints, murderers, and angels, and he must help Door on her mission to save this strange underworld kingdom from destruction.

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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.
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