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Neverwhere Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1998

1,480 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780380789016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380789016
  • ASIN: 0380789019
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,480 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean's MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

256 of 273 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on December 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Everybody traveling in London by Tube, is familiar with the loudspeaker's warning "Mind the Gap", that is the space between platform and train carriage. Reading Gaiman, "gaps" take on a much more complex meaning... People can fall through the gaps/cracks, literally, not only down onto the rails but much deeper, ending up in "London Below". Richard Mayhew, a young man with nothing much happening in his life, is an unlikely Samaritan. Still, when confronted with a choice he follows his charitable instinct and assists a wounded rag girl he finds lying in the street. To save her from her apparent killers he goes on a quest and from this moment his life turns into a rollercoaster of discovery and danger.

"Neverwhere" is a brilliant yarn of life in the underbelly of the city, with shady human characters, speaking rats and special "guides". There is more than one reality for sure. In London Above, Richard and the rag girl, named appropriately "Door", can be seen but not recalled beyond the moment. The real-life maze of London underground tunnels, hidden passageways and dead ends provide the existent, yet twisted, backdrop to the story. Time and distances have no meaning. The names of tube stations acquire new relevance: the Earl resides at Earl's Court, the black Friar monks are in Blackfriars and Islington is an Angel. Following Door and her unusual companions, Richard discovers the limits of his endurance. He has to question his existence and reality. While his desire to get back to his normal life keeps him going, his chances to shake loose from the shadowy underworld increasingly appear to diminish...

The novel, which expands on Gaiman's successful tv production, is a great read, whether you know London or not (yet). His style is fluid and engaging, his characters are very much alive and moving the various layers of intrigue along at a good pace. [Friederike Knabe]
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132 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on April 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before he broke out full time into the world of novel writing Gaiman's reputation mostly rested on a relative handful number of comic books he had written, most notably (though not his best stuff) The Sandman series which showed his ability to toy with fantasy and myth to a near demented degree previously not expected for comic books. At best it was flat out amazing, at worst it was merely pleasant. Name recognition alone probably drove a lot of Gaiman starved Sandman fans to this book but fortunately it has much broader appeal as a contemporary fantasy. In this tale normal guy Richard Mayhew helps a stranger and winds up falling through the cracks into "London Below" a quasi-mystical world that coexists and yet can't be seen by "London Above". Now Richard, with a bizarre cast of comrades has to help the lady Door figure out how killed her family and what it all means, while dodging all sorts of unpleasantness that keeps popping up. The idea of a fantastic dark London overlapping the normal London isn't anything new (DC Comics' Hellblazer went over that concept all the time and "Midnight Nation" applies it to the entire US) but the key to a story like this is imagination which Gaiman has in spades. Every texture of the London Below feels real, and almost every page has some bizarre occurance or some off kilter social commentary disguised as fantasy coming from all sides. He has more good ideas than any man should possibly have and these ideas and his brilliant descriptions are what carry the novel, for the most part, you can read the whole thing like a travelogue and just become immersed in this strange and amazing world.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on April 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Richard Mayhew, a quiet, rather mundane man, finds an injured young woman on a London street. She's reluctant to be helped, but he seeks to restore her to health anyway. The appearance of two mysterious men seeking her brings an immediate tension, little helped by the woman's apparent disappearance. When she re-emerges from wherever she'd hidden, it begins a string of amazing adventures. The young woman, "Door" seems to possess bizarre powers as she leads Richard into a new, wholly unanticipated realm - below the city's streets.

Although Door is on a quest that would place Richard, and herself, in grave danger, she leads him through this bizarre society. She's young, vulnerable and clearly frightened. It doesn't matter that she's from a respected family. They have all been slaughtered and Door's protectors are few. They aren't always effective, either. As a newcomer to this world, Richard is not placed to act as the fantasy hero. Gaiman paints him admirably, a terrified city man who yet manages the flash of courage and insight. More importantly, Richard Mayhew cares, and the novelty of that feeling in this environment proves strangely beneficial.

Gaiman's prose gifts, combined with a vivid imagination, have produced a sterling example of "modern" fantasy. What does lie below the congested streets of Britain's capital? Gaiman proposes a mix of ancient spirits and semi-human beings who have formed societies, alliances, meeting places and residences. There are those who communicate with the rats, a major population segment, as expected. The author creates an amazing melange of figures, including, even at these depths, an angel. Among the most important aspect of this realm is the Floating Market.
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