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Nov 8, 2017 in Informative

Review of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is an eccentric native fantasy, which essentially de-familiarizes and plays with London city, which is at the center of events. In this novel, Richard Mayhew, who is a humble Scot, moves to London where he is dominated by Jessica, who happens to be his pompous fiancé. This is seen in chapter one, "Richard had been awed by Jessica, who was beautiful, and often quite funny, and was certainly going somewhere" (p.1). It is true to say that Richard is fully dragged into a new world when he tries to help the young girl. According to the novel, Richard found Door injured on the pavement in the city and helped her. Door is not an ordinary girl because she had escaped from cruel murderers. It is seen that Croup and Vandemar murdered parents of this young girl, who in turn ran away. Door refuses to go to the hospital and she is now left in Richard’s hands. This essentially makes Richard abandon normalcy of his world of London Above. This makes Richard fall through the cracks bursting at the seams in the world of London Below, which is a city beneath a city. It is filled with fantasy, which extend to include quests, knights, and talking rats. This basically makes Richard incapable of returning to his own world. It is seen that he is slowly hauled into a mission to revenge for murder of Door’s parents.

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Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

To perfect his mission, he is backed by the caramel skinned Hunter, who was a beautiful warrior but very deadly. “The marquis de Carabas was not a good man and he knew himself well enough to be perfectly certain that he was not a brave man.” Richard battles through the criminal world and finds himself in new depths, but he is uncertain whether he will return safely to his own world of London Above.

It is evident from the novel that the inhabitants who live in London Above do not actually realize those who hail from the London Below even though they are just few feet apart. This is seen when the young man was told to understand that, “there are two Londons. There's London Above%u2015that's where you lived%u2015and then there's London Below%u2015the Underside%u2015inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world.” This actually shows the deep rooted hatred that exists between these two inhabitants. This form of difference witnessed in the novel goes beyond our fantasy world, which in turn brings about a lot of worry as one reads it. It is believed that differences within people are causal agents of dreadful conflicts. Dark tunnels that are below the city of London collect the unwanted garbage from London Above. This is commendable and occurs in the reality in most cities all over the world. Unwanted debris should be disposed properly to ensure that there is less pollution of the environment.

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London Below is not actually the best place where London’s Above waste should be discarded. This is because it is characterized by mythic and fantastic inhabitants who obey their customs. It shows how inhabitants who live in London Above lack respect to their fellow inhabitants. From the novel we see that, “It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect”. It is true to say that there exists a relative blindness of London Above citizens, which clearly reveals the distinction between these two worlds. This distinction between the two inhabitants helps see the difference that exists between reality and fantasy. This at the end makes Richard clinch and acknowledge the fantasy in London Below. This is because inhabitants respect their customs, which as a result makes him develop interest to understand and master their fantasy.

It will be realized that despite the fact that the story revolves around a simple adventure of a man who seems to be dragged towards a new quest that he never demanded for, Neil Garman inculcates the story with total dry humor and wonderful creativity. From the novel we are able to see that most ideas are not completely made clear, but they actually subsist with an alleged back story that ropes the ideas. This as a result creates room for reassurance, but to some extent, it is frustrating. It is also true to say that the novel requires some developments, and their absence makes the novel somehow disappointing. From the novel we can further see that there is some sense of long life to inhabitants in London Below eternalness that a continually developing city should posses. An evolving city should basically respect customs of inhabitants and should enhance cohesion among citizens. The plot of the novel is considered to have some faults, but through imagination of the author this weakness is eliminated.

In many old tales and cultures, it is widely agreed that an individual is required to make figurative journey in the dark to come to a vivid thought on themselves. In this novel, Richard Mayhews clearly depicts this quest by traveling through the city of London. It is seen that he travels to save lady Door who was injured, although he did not know the town well. This is obviously different from most narrations that revolve around the metropolitan fantasy genre. Neil Gaiman, therefore, tries to instill Neverwhere with a great feeling that in reality makes darker moments within the novel unbearable. This generally makes one develop strong desire to play a game of this novel because it has a strong impact on the audience and all citizens in general. It helps develop a sense of overcoming fear and generates a feeling of being alive.

Narration in this novel tries to show that Gaiman has mastery in creating wondrous and weird characters, where they extend from those that are benign to those that are strikingly evil.  He creates characters who arequirky criminal.Croup and Vandermar were alleged of murdering Door’s parents. This in reality was very inhuman because they left little girl hopeless and an orphan. Door was subjected to many sufferings because she had no parents who could help create her future.Characteristics of Richard are so far commendable. Throughout the novel he appears to be non-confrontational, pleasant, and polite. These are good characters that people in the contemporary world should yearn to develop. Polite inhabitants help enhance cohesion and reduce conflicts and differences within the society. It is seen that Richard is a new transplant to London where, he pursues a vocation in securities. The story reveals that Richard has to tackle his fears to overcome his inflexible concepts of the world, which in turn leaves him bold and better primed to face adversity.


Neverwhere presents some good ideas and surfaces brilliant characters, although some of the characters are quirky criminals. It is a novel that depicts realities of the evolving cities. Most of the cities are characterized by rampant crimes that result in series of deaths and robbery among urban dwellers. It is also evident that in most metropolitans where there are several tribes, there seem to be prolonged clouds of differences among inhabitants. Gender, race, color, and nationality are some notable factors that make these differences persist.

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