I have slowly become obsessed with Neil Gaiman over the years. I think he is a more palatable version of Tim Burton for some reason.
My first introduction to Neil came when my mother sent me a link to an NPR interview with Neil. The interview, on Ask Me Another, is titled “It’s a Neil Gaiman Universe; We just Live in It” and can be found online here. I had not heard of Neil Gaiman before, but my mother sent it to me for a very specific reason. The subject of the email was “IT’S YOU!!!!” (Yes, I get my love for exclamation points from my mother). What caught my mother’s attention was Neil’s story of his childhood reading habits. “I was a book-y child. I was much more book-y than dark. My parents would frisk me before family events, and find the book, and lock it in the car. And then be disappointed where, somewhere at the event, I would find a book and sit under a table where nobody could get me and go back into book land.”
In another interview, Neil discusses how his father used to be disappointed that all he wanted to do was read, but now he is fine with that, since Neil has become so successful (I am summarizing). I wonder now if my mother sent this article to me to say “it’s fine that you love reading so much, but you better turn it into a multi-million dollar writing dynasty.” But what do I know?
Anyway, I just finished Neverwhere and I think it is my favorite Neil Gaiman to-date. While Stardust was full of adventure and love and American Gods was full of violence and mythology, Neverwhere incorporated the best of both novels. Neverwhere was alternatively horrifying and hilarious. Neverwhere starts with Richard Mayhew, a seemingly normal Londoner who works at a firm in London and just exists. His regular existence changes when he almost steps on a young woman bleeding on the sidewalk. Richard decides to help the girl, whose name is Door. Door introduces him to the fantasy world of London Below, the darker, dirtier, more dangerous (literally underground) side of London.
The two unlikely partners begin an adventure to find the Angel Islington, who will help Door solve the mystery of her murdered family and will give Richard back the ability to return to London Above. This book was so well written I cannot stop raving about it. I am going to try my hardest to get M to read it, even though fantasy is not a genre she normally subscribes to.
This book would also make a fantastic movie, just an FYI to all those movie producers out there who are reading this review.