Neverwhere

by

Author: Gaiman, Neil

Title:  Neverwhere

Genre:  Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: 2007 (recorded)

Number of pages: 10 sound discs (12.5 hours)

Geographical Setting: Present-Day London (England) and fantasy London Below

Time period: Contemporary

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: The book tells a story of a young Englishman, Richard Mayhew, who enjoys routine and avoids conflict, that is until he impulsively helps a girl he finds bleeding on a sidewalk and is thrust into a fantastic world of London Below. There Richard and his companions, the girl named Door, a shadowy figure-Marquis de Carabas, and a she-warrior named Hunter, embark on a suspenseful quest of obsession, revenge against a powerful evil, and a desire to return home. This strangely believable parallel universe of London Below is inhabited by humans who “have fallen through the cracks” of the modern city, by revered rats, chilling vampires, brilliant angels, and many other colorful villains and heroes, amongst them a deliciously wicket couple of werewolf-like creatures, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, who add a brilliant touch of Victorian macabre to this story. In his imagining of London Below, Gaiman blends history, mythology and religion with the issues of good and evil, while on a deeper level the author sheds a satirical light on Londoners’ modern-day inability to “see” people who are homeless, addicted or just different.  Neverwhere is a fast-paced book with a dark and suspenseful story and a rich set of fantastic characters. The story is also sprinkled with witty word puns and literary allusions, making this book appealing not only to the fans of urban fantasy but to the readers of dark literary fiction. Finally, the unabridged, audio version of this book, as narrated by the author, only makes the story better. Neil Gaiman provides an intimate and pitch-perfect reading of the book. His accent emphasizes the setting of the story, his varied dialects provide unique personalities to the characters, and his even and calm tone adds to the suspense of the plot.

Subject Headings: English fiction—20th century, Parallel Universes, Quests, Underground Worlds, Villains, Heroes, Angels, Go0d and Evil.

Appeal: suspenseful, dark, menacing, character-driven, chilling, intricately-plotted, entertaining, witty, world-building, fast-paced, intimately-narrated, original, urban, imaginative.

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: dark, engrossing, intimately-narrated.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd: a witty and engaging story about everything that lies underneath London, from streams, animals, ghost stories, Roman buildings to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts and modern train stations.

2) Necropolis: London and Its Dead by Catharine Arnold: a macabre historical tour of London’s dead with an emphasis on London’s plagues, fires, and burial grounds hidden underneath the contemporary city.

3) A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirit by Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack: a great reference guide to the world’s most famous folkloric and mythological spirits, their sources and their role in the society.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) A Madness of Angels: or the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin: a dark and witty story of Matthew Swift who wakes up in his London bed two years after being murdered and starts his quest for revenge.

2) The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind: a story of a young woman, Jennsen, compelled by inhuman voices in her head on a vengeful quest against the demonic powers.

3) Kraken: an Anatomy by China Mieville: another urban fantasy vision of London (England), in which Billy, a young museum curator, is propelled into a supernatural underworld filled with magic squids, witches, golems and warriors.

Megan Rosol

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