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Neverwhere: A Novel [Paperback]

Neil Gaiman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (447 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 21 2003

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.

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Neverwhere: A Novel + American Gods + The Ocean At The End Of The Lane: A Novel
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From Amazon

Neverwhere's protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis of Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but Neil Gaiman's humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them. Gaiman is definitely not just for graphic-novel fans anymore. --Nona Vero --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Gaiman assumes the role of narrator for his latest book, offering an intimate reading that steals one's attention almost immediately and keeps the listener involved throughout. As the story is based in the United Kingdom, Gaiman is a quintessential raconteur for the tale, with his charming Scottish brogue instilling life and spirit into the central character of Richard Mayhew. Pitch perfect, with clear pronunciation, Gaiman invites listeners into his living room for a fireside chat, offering a private and personal experience that transcends the limitations of traditional narration. The author knows his story through and through, capturing the desired emotion and audience reaction in each and every scene. His characters are unique, with diverse personalities and narrative approaches, and Gaiman offers a variety of dialects and tones. The reading sounds more like a private conversation among friends with Gaiman providing the convincing and likable performance the writing deserves. A Harper Perennial paperback (Reviews, May 19, 1997). (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story; lackluster characters Feb. 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This story was built with a rich imagination. I loved reading about what odd scenario the characters would find themselves in next. It was clever, interesting, and quite a page turner. The characters, however, especially Richard and Door, were too shallow. I never took to them the way I wanted to. I didn't long for their success. Door had so much potential, but the details just never came out, and Richard, well he was mostly a doofus. If this author could make us really care for the characters, this would be world-class storytelling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This "Neverwhere" goes nowhere July 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Subterranean alternate-cultures are a fascinating little niche in modern literature. However, "Neverwhere" never attains the characterization or depth of Neal Shusterman's "Downsiders," combining sketchy characterization with truly worthy chills.
Except for an odd fortuneteller's warning, Richard Mayhew appears to have everything going well. He has a good job and a fiancee whom he loves -- until the day he and his fiancee stumble over a young woman bleeding in the street from a stab wound. He carries the girl, who calls herself "Door" and refers to the city as "London Above," back to his apartment, fixes her up, and helps her back to wherever it is she came from.
But a sinister pair came by while she was recovering, the deliciously evil and creepy Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. And the sudden loss of his identity quickly drives Richard deeper into "London Below," a shadow world of rat-girls called Anesthesia, body-guardians, the bizarre marquis, and a hideous Beast of London whom he must try to battle...
I have heard exceptional things about Neil Gaiman, and enjoyed the beautifully-written "Stardust." However, perhaps this was an "off" item for Gaiman; there isn't much charm or interest in this story. Part of that stems from the lead character, Richard: He's a limp dishrag of a character, who reacts blandly to every situation, no matter how fantastical or terrifying it is. When his friends don't recognize him and strangers don't see him, his noticeable emotion is not frustration and anger, but a sad "oh well, I guess I'm in trouble." This might not have harmed the book, except that Richard is the lens through which the readers see the story. There are brief exceptions: passages that focus on other characters entirely, which are delightfully written and very spicy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful brew Oct. 3 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This story is a really great tale of magic but for a mature audience. I completely identified with the hero's frustrations with regular life, and the snide comments about our society ring true.
For those just looking for a fun read this is no less of a treasure, think of this book as Alice In Wonderland if it had been written by Stephen King with Douglas Adams type humor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beneath London lies a whole other world... June 2 2004
By DanD
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Richard Mayhew is a normal guy. His girlfriend's a bit obsessive, and his career seems to be going nowhere. But then he meets Door--a young girl he finds on the street, bleeding. Richard takes Door back to his apartment, where he lets her rest and get better.
Before long, a couple "men" come looking for her. They are Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar--two wisecracking, charming, thoroughly sadist and bloodthirsty individuals. They promise to tear out Richard's liver and feed it to him...and they mean to keep it.
In an effort to protect himself, and to find out why he seems to be disappearing from the normal world, Richard tracks down Door...and finds something he never suspected: London Below, a world BELOW the city of London, where the phrase "Mind the gap" at rail stations means something entirely different...where a beast stalks a huge labyrinth...and a fallen angel plots a dastardly scheme...
Neil Gaiman is a thrilling, imaginative author. "Neverwhere" will hold you rivited to your seat with its action, suspense, and the perils of Richard Mayhew and his naivity. It's a must for fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and good old adventures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lame Oct. 11 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I made it half way through. But come on, aside from the character mentally noting several times that his life was gone, the author made no attempt to make him appear at all concerned that he had lost everything and was now in a completely alien environment. Even worse: Could anyone possibly protect door from the killers? No...only Hunter could stand a chance. And GEE, guess who shows up as the bodyguard a few pages later. Oh Hunter! There you are! Glad they worked you in so well. And the lame image of the "knockout amazon" was too much. Anytime a strong female character appears in these shallow books, she has to be stacked. Please. Also, the characters of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandawhatever were shamelessly stolen from the Bond movie "Diamonds are Forever." So I guess what I'm saying is skip this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A surrealist work to rival all others... Jan. 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I originally became involved in Neil Gaiman's fantastical, deeply provoking writings because of a friend, who was completely obsessed with his "Sandman" series, and his work with Terry Pratchett on "Good Omens". This was the first solo Neil Gaiman novel I read, and might (possibly) remain my favorite to date. (But then again, how can one choose?) Quite simply put, it is a masterwork of dark, "urban" fantasy, in a world with so many mysterious layers that to read it again and again is like peeling the skins off of a never-ending onion: you see a new layer each time.
The three primary complaints I've heard about this book is: 1.) It is too morbid and dark. 2.) The characters are never fully developed, and so many are mentioned just "in passing" for no apparent reason. 3.) Gaiman can't get his "point" across. To be fully prepared for this book, you have to realize three points: Yes, it is very morbid and dark, but in such a fascinating, occasionally humourous way that it does not make you revile it. Be prepared for some seriously disturbing imagery, but this only adds to the story. Secondly, the characters are indeed deeply developed, but do not go in expecting your usual "bad guy" vs. "good guy" arrangement. The main character, Richard is above all (and here is Gaiman's most brilliant stroke), only a human, with weaknesses and strengths that are so realistic that you feel you know Richard like your best friend. By far the most realistic "human" portrayal I've ever read, and that's saying something! Also, all the characters have their "dark" and "light" sides. The nature of humans everywhere remains the same.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars All is good, though
All Neil Gaiman is magic. Between him and Terry Pratchett, I have to think I just have no imagination. All is good, though, as long as he continues to share his.
Published 1 month ago by vern shook
2.0 out of 5 stars Neverwhere -- whatever.
I found it too weird and it wasn't interesting.
Published 1 month ago by j5cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman knows exactly how blend the real with the fantastic in such a...
Gaiman knows exactly how blend the real with the fantastic in such a way as to drop you into the middle his worlds.
Published 1 month ago by Kevin Fifield
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely book.
Published 2 months ago by Jayne Andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Storytelling
Investment analyst Richard Mayhew is rushing with his fiancée Jessica to meet her boss for dinner when he discovers a young woman bleeding on the street. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Debra Purdy Kong
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Ride
This was my first Neil Gaiman book and because of this book I've purchased three more!
Great book! Great edition!

Buy it, you won't be disappointed!
Published 9 months ago by Umantis
5.0 out of 5 stars fast and as described
as described got it it really quick, hard copy edition arrived in new condition no issues, reasonable price and for it faster than i expected
Published 10 months ago by Sanctivibe
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
This book took me to another world. now I am watching the 1996 tv series because i loved the characters so much.
Published 18 months ago by Jennifer Carpenter
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a 3.5 rating... 3 is too low, 4 is too high.
This book is a good read from a good author. It started very strong, but then seemed to lose steam a little bit. Read more
Published on April 4 2011 by killerwhaletank
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this book down!
This is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I first read "The Graveyard Book" and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to read another one of Neil Gaiman's books. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2011 by New Mommy
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