Saturday, January 12, 2008

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman
ISBN-13: 9780380789016
ISBN-10: 0380789019
Publisher: HarperTorch/1997
Pages: 370

I came to know of Neil Gaiman from the blog world. I won American Gods from Dewey in a book giveaway. I had asked one of my friends to get me Neverwhere when she visited India. I started Neverwhere today and did not put it down until I finished. Next, I will read American Gods.

Neverwhere is a page- turner through and through. Richard is just an ordinary man with a heart of gold. One day while on a dinner date with his fiancée, he stumbles upon an injured girl in a sidewalk. He helps her and his life changes forever. Without wanting to, he is sucked into a world, which he never knew exists. In underground stations, abandoned buildings and sewer pipelines/channels, a dark and murky world exists unknown to the real one. He wants his life back but he cannot have it back.

In this magical tale of fantasy world, we get to meet many interesting characters like marquez de Carabas, Door, Hunter, Old Baily and angel Islington. Mr Croup and Mr. Vandemar are creepy and totally evil. They are so matter of fact about their evil nature. That makes it so much more chilling. Richard gets embroiled into their world all the while wanting to get back to his world. Labyrinths and wild strange beasts engross us until the end.

It is the modern day Alice in Wonderland, with so much vivid imagery. Nothing feels out of place here. At certain places, one simply stops and savours the sheer beauty of words. It is scary, whimsical, has a great pace, imaginative and very alive. Wit and humour is maintained throughout. Our protagonist is like any other man, not a superhero. More than anything else, one wants to re-read it as soon one finishes. Neil Gaiman is an author to watch out for.