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Sunday, 21 September 2008

Book Notes No. 12 : Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

Fifteen degrees at about 8am. Cloudy, warm in the sun, cold in the breeze.


Okay, okay, I guess everyone's heard about Neil Gaiman except me.

So he's a New York Times bestselling author. So I don't read the New York Times.

But maybe I should, because
Neverwhere was a really good read.



Time for the blurb :

Richard Mayhew's ordinary life is changed forever when one day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement. From that moment on he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed - a dark subculture flourishing in abandoned (and some fully-populated) London underground stations and sewer tunnels below the city - a world far stranger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known...

Now, I lived for 20 years (on and off) in London, and so became intolerably intimate with the London Underground system. I spent quite a lot of that time trying to avoid using it, but it still burrowed deep into my soul as a cultural entity that one can never quite escape. I often found myself musing on the strange station names (Elephant and Castle, Angel Islington, Earls Court, Barons Court...), and wondering what happens to a station when it gets closed.

Clearly Neil Gaiman thought similar thoughts, perhaps while waiting for that elusive Last Train Home, or when being made to feel like the Invisible Man by passengers who buffet, push and shove as they pour off a commuter express.

And he has come up with a damn fine fiction to tie it all together, making Richard Mayhew's adventures below the London streets "a dark contemporary Alice in Wonderland" (Minneapolis Star Tribune). It's entertaining but also intelligent. It's right funny in parts and right creepy in others. It's a funky, fast read, full of great ideas. And it's gripping pretty much all the way through.

If you didn't catch the Neil Gaiman express the first time round, I recommend you step on board. It's a fun ride.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
The part of this which describes you experiences in London on the underground is great stuff. I was sorry when you ended it and went on to the book.

Ilse said...

Saw the BBC series and rather liked that - never realised that it was based on a book!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Book Notes No. 12 : Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

Fifteen degrees at about 8am. Cloudy, warm in the sun, cold in the breeze.


Okay, okay, I guess everyone's heard about Neil Gaiman except me.

So he's a New York Times bestselling author. So I don't read the New York Times.

But maybe I should, because
Neverwhere was a really good read.



Time for the blurb :

Richard Mayhew's ordinary life is changed forever when one day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement. From that moment on he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed - a dark subculture flourishing in abandoned (and some fully-populated) London underground stations and sewer tunnels below the city - a world far stranger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known...

Now, I lived for 20 years (on and off) in London, and so became intolerably intimate with the London Underground system. I spent quite a lot of that time trying to avoid using it, but it still burrowed deep into my soul as a cultural entity that one can never quite escape. I often found myself musing on the strange station names (Elephant and Castle, Angel Islington, Earls Court, Barons Court...), and wondering what happens to a station when it gets closed.

Clearly Neil Gaiman thought similar thoughts, perhaps while waiting for that elusive Last Train Home, or when being made to feel like the Invisible Man by passengers who buffet, push and shove as they pour off a commuter express.

And he has come up with a damn fine fiction to tie it all together, making Richard Mayhew's adventures below the London streets "a dark contemporary Alice in Wonderland" (Minneapolis Star Tribune). It's entertaining but also intelligent. It's right funny in parts and right creepy in others. It's a funky, fast read, full of great ideas. And it's gripping pretty much all the way through.

If you didn't catch the Neil Gaiman express the first time round, I recommend you step on board. It's a fun ride.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
The part of this which describes you experiences in London on the underground is great stuff. I was sorry when you ended it and went on to the book.

Ilse said...

Saw the BBC series and rather liked that - never realised that it was based on a book!