Monday, May 18, 2009
Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman, Avon Books, 197, 370 pp
In another novel of astounding imagination, Gaiman takes you to the underground of London, way beyond the subway to abandoned stations and sewer tunnels, buried ancient streets and buildings and into a subculture of people who have fallen between the cracks. Here is a whole other world of creatures from ancient goddesses and criminals to fallen angels and rats.
Richard Mayhew goes from mild mannered dull office worker to superhero after he stops to help an injured girl on a London sidewalk. Simply by getting involved with Door, a sort of underground duchess who has the power to open any door, Richard becomes enmeshed in the dangers and intrigues of this under world. He finds that he is invisible to the "normal" upper world people of London proper and only after surviving all manner of dangers and fulfilling more than one quest, is he able to return to his former life.
It is a fantastic story with characters worthy of Tolkein, descriptions of gross and macabre elements as good as Bradbury and plot twists that outshine Grisham. All this plus lessons about life and its meaning. I've not read anything like it.