Wednesday, September 26, 2007

book clubbing in September

It's that time of the month again. My book club met today and we discussed Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Richard Mayhew is a young businessman with a good heart and a dull job. When he stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternate reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations below the city. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

Neverwhere received a pretty positive response from the book club. We all liked it, some more than others, and because of that (as is typical for us) our discussion about the book itself wasn't that in depth. That's not to say we didn't have a good discussion, we just got off track a bit talking about graphic novels and the Millennials and movie adaptations and ...

Personally I liked the book, but found it a bit slow. Though that's probably because (as usual) I waited until the last minute to read the book so I couldn't put it down in favor of something that was better suited to my mood.

My impressions of the book, however, we're definitely affected by the fact that I'd read China Mieville's Un Lun Dun relatively recently. The concept behind Un Lun Dun and Neverwhere is similar, with an alternate world existing beneath our feet. Un Lun Dun's un-London is a bit more fantastical (and the novel a bit more playful as it is geared toward a different audience). I enjoyed Un Lun Dun, but after reading Neverwhere I know exactly how much Mieville is indebted to Gaiman


  1. I read Un Lun Dun not long ago & was definitely stuck by how Gamainesque it was. And I agree, that of the 2 Un Lun Dun is a bit better.

    I think the novel of Neverwhere was somewhat hampered by the fact that it started life as a bbc miniseries and then was basically transcribed into book form. Still good, but not as good as his other works. If you haven't read anything else by Gaiman, I highly recommend American Gods & Stardust.

  2. I have to confess that other than the raven and the whole Nevermore business, this didn't do a thing for me. Gaiman's such hot stuff that I feel like a mutant for admitting this, but there you go.

  3. I've read two Gaiman books and those had slow pacing too. He seems to use the first third of the book to get himself into gear.

    I haven't read Neverwhere but having now read your review, I want to. Oh well, one more book for the old wishlist. :D

  4. puss, shall I send you my copy?