Carl @ Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a group read for Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. This week there are no questions and Carl left it up to us what to share and what to underline. Which I appreciate… except that this week I lack the time and concentration for analysis, so you’ll get my scattered thoughts instead. Let me also say here that I am sorry for participating so little, and I hope to go back to participating blogs in the upcoming weeks, as soon as I get the time! (As usual, beware: spoilers ahead)
About the book as a whole: I’m still in love with it as much as the first time. I really hope Carl will share with us what makes him write “So is it really that spectacular of a novel? The objective answer is “no”.” Because to me, it is spectacular, very much so each time I read it.
About Richard: many of you mentioned last week that the Ordeal was a kind of turning point for Richard. He obviously thought the same:
Richard felt oddly proud. He had proved himself in the ordeal. He was One of Them. He would Go, and he would Bring Back Food. He puffed out his chest.
But the others don’t seem to think so. And I didn’t see any turning point. More like, a gradual growth of the character. Until this:
Metaphors failed him, then. He had gone beyond the world of metaphor and simile, into the place of things that are, and it was changing him.
Now, isn’t this interesting? London Below as “the place of things that are“?
About the ending: I am very sorry to say that, after our discussion about mental illness, this time I had to read the ending differently. You know how the homeless woman has no idea about London Below? This time, for me, Gary is right, and Richard has had a nervous breakdown and has been hallucinating. And I have to say it’s a sad way of reading this book. I liked the magic better.
About references: this one is a reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, right? Or is this a common joke?
“Talking of the Marquis, I wonder where he is. He’s a bit late, isn’t he, Mister Vandemar?”
“Very late indeed, Mister Croup. As late as he possibly could be.”
Questions for fellow group readers:
- In his dream, Richard confronted the Beast alone; in the Labyrinth, he only participates in the “dance”, following Hunter’s indications. And he’s still completely out of his depth. Do you think he had some traits that made him into the Warrior? (Maybe that collection of trolls was a hint?)
- Why is the key given back to the Black Friars? And why was it Door that had to use it? If it was the “key to all reality”, why did it need an opener?
- What do you think of the processional of all the London Below characters saying goodbye to Richard?
Sorry, that’s all that I could come up with, today.
Edition note: I am reading the author’s preferred text, as published by Headline Review, paperback, 372 pages plus exclusive material.