Thursday, June 9, 2016

Neverwhere

My copy
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

As long as I'm going to London, I need to brush up on my London geography, right?  Well, how about my fictional London Below geography?  It's a long time since I read Neverwhere.

Richard Mayhew is your average British schlub guy, much like Arthur Dent, but the thing about Richard is that he is kind.  When he trips over an injured girl while on his way to a socially important occasion with his fiancée, he chooses to help the girl--and soon finds that his ordinary life has evaporated.  He's now an unwilling, bewildered denizen of London Below, where all the forgotten things fall and monsters lurk in the dark.

This was Neil Gaiman's first novel, and it didn't start off as a novel at all.  First, it was a BBC mini-series on TV, and aired in 1996.  I've seen it, but it's been a very long time, and now I want to watch it again.  Gaiman then turned it into a novel, which has been through a few different incarnations too--my version is the first one, so now I'm wondering what was added.  Then a comic series was inspired by the novel, there were several stage versions, and a radio dramatization came out a couple of years ago which made quite a splash.  Thus, Neverwhere is Gaiman's Hitchhicker's Guide.

Lots of interesting covers; I like this one
The whole thing is inspired by London, very often by Tube stations that take on a different identity in London Below.  I looked up the little street where Richard finds the Marquis de Carabas; it's a real place.  Knightbridge becomes Night's Bridge, a perilous crossing.  Richard visits Earl's Court and talks with the earl, goes through an ordeal at Blackfriars, and ventures ever deeper under London, eventually to find a labyrinth, a monster, and an angel.

It's a great classic of dark Gaiman fantasy, so don't miss it.

All-star cast of 2013 radio drama


6 comments:

Lory said...

Interesting, I didn't know about this book's complex history! How lucky you are to be going to London soon. Don't get stuck in any other-dimensional tube stops though.

heather said...

This is one of my favorite rereads.

Gin Jenny said...

Have such a wonderful time in London! If you get a chance you should rewatch the Neverwhere miniseries -- for all its many flaws, I really really love it. Paterson Joseph is the greatest Marquis de Carabas. I wanted him to be the next star of Doctor Who! But alas! The universe did not heed my pleas. :p

Jean said...

I did have a wonderful time in London! I'll tell you all about it later--I'll be home later this week. ^

Joy said...

I enjoyed this as pre-London trip reading. Especially this quote: "It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces..." I thought of that quote every time we saw a palace. I did, though, find a few spots in London where a new building paid respect to a neighboring older building.

Kristen M. said...

I recently got the author's preferred edition so I'll likely be reading it this summer. I wonder if I'll notice which things are different. I have to say that I didn't really notice much different in American Gods but had a vague feeling sometimes that an idea was new to me.