Monday, June 13, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman




Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a book they are reading or thinking about reading soon. It is also where I share my first impressions about the book I am sharing.

The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself. 

Every Tuesday, Jenn from Books And A Beat hosts Teaser Tuesdays at which time participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.


Teaser from Neverwhere, page 4:
The old woman took the umbrella, gratefully, and smiled her thanks. "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." 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
William Morrow, 2014 (originally published in 1997)
Fiction; 336 pgs

When I noticed Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere was going on tour, I immediately volunteered. I have only read a handful of Gaiman's novels, but he is one of those authors who never fails to impress me with his writing and imagination.

Neil Gaiman wrote Neverwhere while shooting the BBC miniseries of the same name. The show wasn't quite living up to his expectations. It could not capture the entire story he wanted to tell, nor did he feel his best scenes always got in the final cut. The novel has recently been re-released in the author's preferred text, reconciling the various versions of the novel that have come out, adding and cutting scenes.

Richard Mayhew is just an ordinary man, living a relatively normal life. It's not a very exciting life, at that. As he and his fiancée, Jessica, are walking to a restaurant for an important meeting with Jessica's boss, Richard sees a young woman bleeding on the sidewalk. Jessica tells him to leave her, but Richard cannot help but assist the woman. By doing so, he steps into a different reality, one which exists alongside his own, only below. Below the London he knows. Richard's own life is in a shambles as a result of his crossover into the shadows, and he turns to Door and the Marquis de Carabas for help. He joins them on Door's mission to find out who was behind the murder of her family, taking them all through London Below, going up against monsters and making new allies.

This dark and comic novel was such a delightful read. Richard is indeed rather ordinary. He has no special skills and can be a bit petulant at times, but given the circumstances, is it really any wonder? Door is extraordinary, a door opener, whose family, before their deaths, was quite powerful in London Below. It is obvious she is well respected. She is the last of her line and determined to find out the reason behind her family's murder--and who ordered their deaths.

The novel is filled with fascinating characters from Old Bailey and his birds, the Marquis who I never quite knew whether I should trust and yet liked just the same; Hunter, a fierce fighter and bodyguard for hire; the rat speakers and the rats themselves; Islington, the angel; to Mr. Croup who loves words (and has some of the best lines in the novel) and Mr. Vandemeer who has a big appetite; the intimidating Serpentine, and a dozen others.

A mixed band of individuals going on a quest is not new to the fantasy genre, but I like Gaiman's approach to it in Neverwhere. An astute reader may notice the several literary allusions, although it isn't at all necessary to do so to enjoy the novel. I'm sure I missed half of them at least. Gaiman's sense of humor, the enduring and interesting characters, and the mystery surrounding Door's family's death kept me riveted to the pages of the novel. I found Neverwhere to be extremely entertaining and a fun read over all.

I cannot help but wonder if the author intended to write a follow-up book given the ending. While the ending wraps the story in Neverwhere up nicely, it does offer a little tease near the end that leaves it wide open for another novel.

This edition of the book ends with a short story called "How the Marquis Got His Coat Back," which gives the reader more of a look into the Marquis de Carabas. He's quite cunning, our Marquis. It's a great addition to the Neverwhere novel.

I could not help but watch the BBC miniseries after finishing the book. The show originally aired in 1996, starring Laura Fraser and Gary Bakewell. Peter Capaldi of Doctor Who fame plays Islington. The show obviously shows its age, given the twenty years since it first aired. The show is fairly true to the book in terms of the story line, and so I imagine if you want to avoid the book being spoiled, definitely read that first. The interactions between Mr. Coup and Mr. Vandemeer in the television show weren't quite as entertaining in the television show as they were in the book, but the Marquis, played by Paterson Joseph, was just as I imagined him. I heard there was talk of a remake of the series. I think that might be fun. Hopefully the Beast will be better cast this time around. I did enjoy the television miniseries, but the book is so much better--no surprise there.


To learn more about Neil Gaiman and his work, please visit the author's websiteHe can also be found on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter


I hope you will check out what others had to say about June on the TLC Book Tours route!



Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.



© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

60 comments:

  1. Ooooh, I'm a Neil Gaiman fan, so this is right up my alley!! Thanks for sharing :D

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    1. Eustacia - This is one I can see myself re-reading. again and again. :-)

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  2. I do appreciate Gaiman's talent and writing but his books are hit or miss for me. This one sounds like it would be a hit.

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    1. Kathy - I haven't come across one of his novels I haven't enjoyed yet--but since I still have most of his work still to read, it's always a possibility. I really enjoyed this one. It was quite different from most of the other urban fantasy I read, which was a nice change of pace.

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  3. I tried The Sandman years ago, and haven't tried again since. I should really try again, and Neverwhere would be a good start!

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    1. Jenclair - I haven't tried any of his comics/graphic novels. I think my husband might have something of his. I'll have to ask when I see him tonight.

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  4. The blurb and the excerpts really drew me in, which surprised me, as I don't often read this genre, nor have I read the author. But now I'm curious! Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “DEATH AT BREAKFAST”

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    1. Laurel-Rain - I think you should give it a try! You might enjoy this one. :-)

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  5. I read Neverwhere in January and it's without doubt my favorite Neil Gaiman book so far (and one of my favorite reads this year). Your quote makes me want to read the story again... This book is brilliant.

    Happy reading! Here's my teaser of The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring.

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    1. Yvo - I think it's mine too so far. :-) Such a good book! I can see myself reading it again at some point.

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  6. I haven't read any Neil Gaiman, but just the title of this one is intriguing! Here's my Teaser: http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/teaser-tuesdays-dawn-at-emberwilde.html

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    1. Kym - I love his work. I hope you will get a chance to try something by him someday.

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  7. I've only read one Gaiman novel and remember enjoying it. I'd love to indulge in more Gaiman if only I could find more time.

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    1. Catherine - I know what you mean. There are so many books I want to read . . . Only if we had the time, right?

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  8. Awesome teaser! I haven't read this one yet, but it's definitely on my list!

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    1. Anna - It's so good! I am so glad I made time to read it. :-)

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  9. Well, you make it sound quite intriguing. Hope it's a good one. Here's Mine

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  10. OMG, I usually don;t read fantasy, but I loved this one so much, I actually listened to it, the audio was fabulous, read by Gaiman himself, superb. Wow, I didn't know there was a mini series, I just found it online. thanks so much!
    By the way, you commented on my post. When I clicked on the logo accompanying your comment, it sent me to your very old blog.

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    1. Emma - Now you've got me wanting to download the audio so I can listen to it. It was such a good book, wasn't it? You'll have to let me know what you think of the mini-series. It's definitely dated, but cute.

      I checked out my comment on your post and when I clicked on my picture and also my name it took me to my Blogger Profile page both times. Is that what you mean? Or were you sent somewhere else?

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  11. I've been meaning to read this book for years!!

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  12. What a perfectly Gaimanesque quote…

    I do love his style, though my experience with his books so far has been hit-or-miss. Did not like American Gods. *Loved* his reading of The Graveyard Book. This one is on my list!

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    1. Robin - I thought so too.

      I have only read a handful of his books so far. Emma mentioned his reading of Neverwhere, and now I plan to make a point of trying something by him in audio. I enjoyed American Gods. I haven't yet read The Graveyard book, but I loved The Ocean At the End of the Lane. I hope you enjoy Neverwhere when you read it!

      Thank you for visiting!

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  13. This is on my list. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Heather - I hope you get a chance to read it. I think it's my favorite by him so far.

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  14. I've always wanted to read Gaiman's more adult books like this one. My husband is reading American Gods right now and loving it. Hopefully, I can pick it up next.

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    1. Athira - It's been awhile since I read American Gods, but I remember liking it quite a bit.

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  15. I have never tried this author (shame, I know). I'd like to try this one.

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    1. Diane - I hope you like it if you do decide to give it a try!

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  16. I have only read one Neil Gaiman book and I don't know why I haven't picked up any more. He is such a good writer with a unique voice and I love his narration on the audio of his books. I will have to add this one to my ever growing TBR list. Great review!

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    1. Carole - I am going to have to give him a try in audio. I hope you do give this one a chance! It's so good.

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  17. I'm so glad you got to take part in this tour! I'm actually really embarrassed that I still haven't read this one, since I love Gaiman. Thanks for the reminder to get to it sooner rather than later ;)

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    1. Annika - I am too. When I saw it on the list, I practically tackled the ladies at TLC to get on it. Haha I have an old copy of the book, but it doesn't have the new edits.

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  18. I have liked every novel of his that I've read. I love his narration as well.

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    1. Nise' - He's got such amazing talent, doesn't he?

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  19. I get the feeling things are about to go terribly wrong for Richard.

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    1. Alice - It is definitely set up that way. Poor guy. He has no idea.

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  20. Neil Gaiman is such an amazing author! I have yet to read this one, but it sounds very intriguing. I can't wait to read this one. :)

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    1. Candid - I think so too. :-) I hope you get a chance to read this one soon. It was such a delight.

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  21. Neverwhere is sooo good. I really must reread it! But first I feel I should read his other books that I have not read...

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    1. Kelly - I think I'll end up listening to it the next time around given everyone's recommendation. But the, like you, maybe I should think about trying one I haven't yet read . . .

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  22. This sounds like an interesting read! Neil Gaiman is one of the authors I will never ever forget. Great teaser!

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    1. Luxe - He's definitely an author I don't see myself forgetting easily. I can't wait to try his other books.

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  23. I like the intro, but the synopsis doesn't sound like it'd be a read for me.

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    1. Charlie - Fantasy isn't for everyone. :-) Luckily there are plenty other books out there.

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  24. I like the intro and teaser but am not a fantasy fan so would probably pass. Sounds like you enjoyed though!

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  25. I haven't read this one - Neil Gaiman is a writer I don't know all that well... Glad you enjoyed and the premise is certainly an intriguing one. Thank you for swinging by my blog yesterday.

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    1. Sarah - He's had his hands in so many different projects, from television/movies to books and graphic novels. I don't know that I'll get to everything he's done, but it will be fun trying. :-)

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  26. Good teaser. Some truth in it for sure. I recently gave my daughter my copy of Neverwhere. I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say about it. Thanks for coming by my teaser.

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    1. Laura - Thank you! I hope your daughter enjoys Neverwhere when she reads it!

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  27. I've had this book on my shelves for SUCH A LONG TIME. I really should read it already...because Gaiman. Great review!

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    1. Andi - My original copy is ancient and the pages have started to yellow. I can't believe I let this one go so long without reading it. Thank you, Andi.

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  28. Can you believe I still have to read a Neil Gaiman book? I know, gotta remedy to that soon . . . Will definitely keep this title in mind!

    Thanks for sharing and stopping by my blog earlier :)

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    1. Silvia - I hope you enjoy whichever of his books you decide to try!

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  29. I enjoyed reading this book and I'm glad you do too, Wendy. I need to read more of his books and I do agree his writing and his imagination is simply fascinating.

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    1. Melody - His books are so varied! He's very talented.

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  30. I need to try Neil Gaiman's books. I've kind of put it off because the episodes of Doctor Who that he wrote tended to be my least favorite but this sounds so fascinating. I'm torn between this one and The Graveyard book as my first official Gaiman book!

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    1. Katherine - I haven't yet read The Graveyard book, but I want too. I've heard great things about that one as well.

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