Neverwhere: The Author’s Preferred Text
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: 1996
This time in ‘Books Made Movies,’ I’m discussing the second part of ‘Neverwhere.’ Neil Gaiman’s an award-winning writer that captures the imagination and triggers our fear responses.
A QUICK RECAP
Last week, Young businessman Richard Mayhew finds out the world of London is more than just the London he knows. His world flips when a girl named Door appears out of nowhere and ruins his life. He longs for the life he’s lost and fears for the life he now has courtesy of Croup and Vandemar.
Richard Mayhew plunges forward to London Below, where things are never as they seem. Or they might just be exactly as they seem. Richard must learn to trust his own eyes and not much else if he’s going to survive.
NOW, LET’S DIG IN
The party is assembled and on the run. They have faced many dangers thus far, but it’s only the beginning. Chapter 7 starts with the friends attempting to solve a mystery and arrive at the Earl’s Court. We discover where all the lost items go and how shady the Marquis de Carabas can be.
The details Neil Gaiman creates to send us on a bone-chilling adventure are out of this world… well, actually under it. From penny whistles that make the money flow to angels living in the British Museum, Gaiman makes us believe that magic is real.
SPOILERS AHEAD - NEIL GAIMAN’S ‘NEVERWHERE’
Hunter intrigues me. Her demeanor and experiences make me wonder how old she is because many in this world seem so ageless referring to centuries instead of decades. She is adept at her craft but can’t go to London Above. This in turn has left Door and Richard alone in London Above. I can’t wait to discover what curse could have that effect on her.
No sooner are Door and Richard out of Hunter’s sight than Croup and Vandemar appear standing as their chillingly charming selves. I wonder whether I will get used to the way they talk about their craft. They remind me of a couple of characters from the Magic 2.0 series who are also “stage magicians.” I see them in nasty suits meant to impress as they perform their magic act.
Door and Richard find themselves at the British Museum and can waltz right through security and the line. I can only dream of how amazing it would feel to be free enough to able to walk around a museum without anyone seeing me. This all changes once Jessica registers Richard. Does this mean he can get his life back? Would Richard really want it? He at least believes he does.
I can’t help but picture Peter Capaldi from the mini-series as the Angel Islington while enjoying this book. What do you believe when you can’t believe your own eyes? Richard has grown accustomed to seeing magic and the impossible.
I don’t believe just about anything that comes out of the angel’s mouth. I can’t quite pinpoint the reason. Maybe it’s that the angel plied them with alcohol and then sent them on their way. At least, let them bunk on the couch if you plan to knock them out! That Magic Liquid Light from Atlantis should be enjoyed responsibly.
They all have their dreams, which is a recurring theme at this point and makes me wonder how/if all of the dreams will tie into each other. The Beast of London features heavily in most of them, and Richard Mayhew seems to feature as the champion instead of Hunter. Of course, we are often the heroes of our own dreams. So, it may mean nothing at all.
Door and Richard awake in the home of the London Below boogeyman. Serpentine and the Seven Sisters are old friends of Hunter. Their hospitality only goes so far and may not be present at all if we meet them again.
THE PIECES ARE FITTING TOGETHER. THE DEVELOPING STORY MAKES ME BELIEVE HUNTER MAY BE AGELESS.
I’m still waiting to see how Old Bailey plays into this whole story. The Marquis de Carabas entrusts him with the figurine. When it starts to glow, I can’t help but think something is coming and how the figurines will play into the final Beast of London story next week.
Speaking of the poor Marquis de Carabas, Croup and Vandemar find him in their lair, awaiting information. He had the perfect plan to get in and out with the information, but Croup and Vandemar are too quick. This dark scene was difficult to stomach but showed the strange charm of the pair. I mean, Vandemar does only have the one suit.
Gaiman established that there are bubbles in time that flit across the path of characters that are pockets of the past. I’m wondering if that will come into play later. If not, it’s still a fun little writing tidbit that makes it feel like this fantasy world of London Below is really there.
THE KEEPERS OF THE KEY - RICHARD MAYHEW MUST FACE THE ORDEAL
The Black Friars are the keepers of the key. From what I can tell, this is their sole purpose. Cherish every day as if it’s your last, and keep the key. Those were their tasks. The Abbot did neither that day. He waited and no longer has the key. What a day.
Richard Mayhew opens his big mouth first, asking for the key only to discover that he must face the ordeal because of it. This was a terrifying scene for me. I have met my share of demons that look back through my own eyes and felt his emotional roller coaster. His laughter at his horror pierces my brain.
As for the Angel Islington’s dreams, I wonder what could haunt an angel’s dreams? The dying of Atlantis is on the list. I couldn’t tell whether it was all that broken up about it, though. It then wakes up to phone the diabolical pair Croup and Vandemar.
The friends must find the next market to catch back up with the Marquis de Carabas that they will never see. The rats know he is gone, though, and they have told Old Bailey. We end chapter 13 with the Sewer folk removing everything from the Marquis de Carabas except his base clothes. The Sewer Folk now have untold treasures of untold powers at their disposal and don’t even know it.
NEIL GAIMAN IS A MASTER, AND HIS CEREBRAL UNIVERSE TAKES READERS ON AN ADVENTURE FULL OF MAGIC AND WONDER THAT FITS PERFECTLY TO BE MADE INTO MOVIES.
I chuckled and clenched at all the right parts. Imagine being the guy who studies how the sewers work to ensure we get an accurate picture of London Below. And I do not want to see Gaiman’s search history. However, I am thrilled that he did the dirty work to have this treasure of a book to enjoy.