Neverwhere: The Author’s Preferred Text
This Books Made Movies series will venture into books that were good enough to be made into movies. Although they have movies, mini-series, or TV series associated with them, I will focus on why the book was good enough to warrant a visual retelling.
Our first book will be ‘Neverwhere!’ It’s a book made movie that is a mini-series of the same name initially aired on the BBC. You can still catch it on Pluto TV if you’d like to see it. But this is about the book.
Neil Gaiman is a master of dark whimsy, and ‘Neverwhere’ is no exception. It doesn’t make a huge difference here, but I am reading “The Author’s Preferred Text,” which has a few new tidbits in it. The first six chapters took me to London, where I met Richard Mayhew. He’s an agreeable bloke with questionable taste in companions. However, his world comes crashing down when he helps a girl that just appears on the street.
Spoilers for book-made-movie: Neverwhere - Ahead!
The girl, Door, is more than she seems when we first meet her; she is a terrified and hurt little girl with no obvious means of escape? Enter Peter Mayhew and his less than empathetic fiance. When he defies his girlfriend to help Door, the true adventure begins.
The baddies are, well, bad. Gaiman was able to capture terrifying bad guys that just make your skin crawl. The evil oozes out of their every pore. What’s worse is that they seem to be after Peter and Door. But are they the real foes, or is it as the Marquis suggests that they are simply the hunting dogs for their master.
To discover what is happening, Peter must find Door in London Below. Penniless, alone, and without a means to fix it, Peter sets out with Rat Girl to discover the Market. Gaiman created an entire world for them to traverse, including fantastic characters like Hunter. I can see why they turned this book into a film. Reading the grandeur of galavanting atop roofs makes the imagination soar.
This world isn’t without its dangers, and Richard soon learns that the darkness isn’t empty. His first loss leaves him little choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other to survive. And keep moving, he does, as the Market looms in front of him. Usually the home of Harrod’s, the Market is fabulous and bizarre. It doesn’t take long or many honest trades to end this crazy adventure – or does it?
He’s found his sought companions only to be left unwanted and alone. But more empathetic consciences prevail and come to his rescue yet again. It’s time to “Mind the Gap” and catch a train. We finish this chapter in the Earl’s Court.
The beginning chapters of this book have a wit that differs from Adams or Pratchett. It’s not necessarily better but has a more subtle delivery. The graphic elements of Gaiman’s telling lend themselves well to film because his words create such strong visuals.
Books Made Movies: Neverwhere Part 2 - Coming Next Week!