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Neverwhere
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Neverwhere

4.3 252
by Neil Gaiman
 

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The #1 New York Times bestselling author's ultimate edition of his wildly successful first novel featuring his "preferred text"—and including his special Neverwhere tale "How the Marquis Got His Coat Back"

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman's darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of

Overview

The #1 New York Times bestselling author's ultimate edition of his wildly successful first novel featuring his "preferred text"—and including his special Neverwhere tale "How the Marquis Got His Coat Back"

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman's darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy. Over the years, a number of versions were produced both in the U.S. and the U.K. Now Gaiman's preferred edition of his classic novel reconciles these works and reinstates a number of scenes cut from the original published books.

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.

Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in the Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. The Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Door, a noblewoman whose family has been murdered, is on a quest to find the agent that slaughtered her family and thwart the destruction of this underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life, he must join the journey to save Door's world—and find a way to survive.

A hallucinatory fantasia of mystery, mythology, and terror that "draws equally from George Lucas, Monty Python, Doctor Who, and John Milton" (USA Today), Neverwhere is an "Alice in Wonderland with a punk edge" (Poppy Z. Brite), "that is both the stuff of dreams and nightmares" (San Diego Union-Tribune).

Editorial Reviews

Pixel Planet
...a dark, twisted sort of fable that anyone that has a passing interest in fantasy fiction should pick up and read immediately. Neverwhere is one of the best books that I’ve read this year.
Stephen King
[Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any media.
Tori Amos
I didn't ever want this book to end. . . Hunter, Islington, Door — these characters are part of my life now. I see them when I turn corners.
Publishers Weekly

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 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
In his first full-length novel, Gaiman, the comic-book mastermind, brings his talents to the black-and-white world of books, eschewing the darkly elegant illustrations that are a trademark of his comics. However, this journey to yet another fantastical realm is full of haunting images just the same. The story revolves around Richard Mayhew, a bumbling young businessman, who is about to discover a new side of London after helping a wounded girl named Door. He is trapped in an alternate dimension, known as London Below, or the Underground. Once he steps into it, he finds that his normal life no longer exists. The only chance of getting his old life back is to accompany Door on a dangerous mission across the Underground. Like adults stumbling through the pages of a bizarre children's story, Gaiman's likable protagonists fight off the sinister villains of this nebulous underworld. Shards of the concrete world continually pierce the surreal surroundings, as Gaiman weaves a link between the two dimensions of London. Gaiman's gift for mixing the absurd with the frightful give this novel the feeling of a bedtime story with adult sophistication. Readers will find themselves as unable to escape this tale as the characters themselves. Highly recommended.Erin Cassin, formerly with "Library Journal"
Kirkus Reviews
Some of the best pure storytelling around these days is being produced in the critically suspect genre of fantasy, and this exuberantly inventive first full-length novel, by the co-creator of the graphic series The Sandman (1996), is a state-of-the-art example.

The protagonist, determinedly unheroic Richard Mayhew, is a young man up from the provinces and living in London, where he has found both job success and a lissome fiancée, Jessica. Soon, however, Richard meets a mysterious old woman who prophesies he'll embark on an adventure that "starts with doors." Sure enough, his fate becomes entwined with that of a beautiful waiflike girl who calls herself Door, and who is in flight from a pair of ageless hired assassins and in pursuit of the reason behind the murder of her family. Suddenly wrenched away from his quotidian life (people can no longer see or hear him), Richard follows Door underground to an alternative "London Below," where "people who have fallen through the cracks" live in a rigidly stratified mock-feudal society that parallels that of London Above. A parade of instructors and guides brings Richard and Door ever closer to understanding why her father was marked for death by the rulers of London Below, and prepares Richard to do battle with the (wonderfully loathsome) Great Beast of London. Altogether, Gaiman's story ending is both a terrific surprise and a perfectly logical culmination of Richard's journey into the darkest recesses of his civilization and himself. The novel is consistently witty, suspenseful, and hair-raisingly imaginative in its contemporary transpositions of familiar folk and mythic materials (one can read Neverwhere as a postmodernist punk Faerie Queene).

Readers who've enjoyed the fantasy work of Tim Powers and William Browning Spencer won't want to miss this one. And, yes, Virginia, there really are alligators in those sewers—and Gaiman makes you believe it.

Huffington Post
“For those who have not read Neverwhere, the new edition is the one to read ... readers can experience this spellbinding, magical world the way that Neil Gaiman wanted us to all along.”
Suspense Magazine
“For those who have never been to Neverwhere, it’s time to go. For those who may have traveled once before, this new edition is calling out to you. There is more to see, hear and learn.”
From the Publisher
"Maggs . . . does soundscapes after the manner of Turner painting sea storms. In Neverwhere when Benedict Cumberbatch flew you heard, saw and felt his angel’s wings rise." —Gillian Reynolds, Telegraph

"Funny but haunting . . . black humour and deft characterisations." —Chris Maume, Independent

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061793059
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
10,564
File size:
720 KB

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Read an Excerpt

Neverwhere
A Novel

Chapter One

She had been running for days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels. She was hungry, and exhausted, and more tired than a body could stand, and each successive door was proving harder to open. After four days of flight, she had found a hiding place, a tiny stone burrow, under the world, where she would be safe, or so she prayed, and at last she slept.

Mr. Croup had hired Ross at the last Floating Market, which had been held in Westminster Abbey. "Think of him," he told Mr. Vandemar, "as a canary."

"Sings?" asked Mr. Vandemar.

"I doubt it; I sincerely and utterly doubt it." Mr. Croup ran a hand through his lank orange hair. "No, my fine friend, I was thinking metaphoncally -- more along the lines of the birds they take down mines." Mr. Vandemar nodded, comprehension dawning slowly: yes, a canary. Mr. Ross had no other resemblance to a canary. He was huge-almost as big as Mr. Vandemar -- and extremely grubby, and quite hairless, and he said very little, although he had made a point of telling each of them that he liked to kill things, and he was good at it; and this amused Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. But he was a canary, and he never knew it. So Mr. Ross went first, in his filthy T-shirt and his crusted blue-jeans, and Croup and Vandemar walked behind him, in their elegant black suits.

There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.

A rustle in the tunnel darkness; Mr. Vandemar's knife was in his hand, and then it was no longer in his hand, and it was quivering gently almost thirty feet away. He walked over to his knife and picked it up by the hilt. There was a gray rat impaled on the blade, its mouth opening and closing impotently as the life fled. He crushed its skull between finger and thumb.

"Now, there's one rat that won't be telling any more tales," said Mr. Croup. He chuckled at his own joke. Mr. Vandemar did not respond. "Rat. Tales. Get it?"

Mr. Vandemar pulled the rat from the blade and began to munch on it, thoughtfully, head first. Mr. Croup slapped it out of his hands. "Stop that," he said. Mr. Vandemar put his knife away, a little sullenly. "Buck up," hissed Mr. Croup, encouragingly.

"There will always be another rat. Now: onward. Things to do. People to damage."

Three years in London had not changed Richard, although it had changed the way he perceived the city. Richard had originally imagined London as a gray city, even a black city, from pictures he had seen, and he was surprised to find it filled with color. It was a city of red brick and white stone, red buses and large black taxis, bright red mailboxes and green grassy parks and cemeteries.

It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces; a city of hundreds of districts with strange names -- Crouch End, Chalk Farm, Earl's Court, Marble Arch -- and oddly distinct identities; a noisy, dirty, cheerful, troubled city, which fed on tourists, needed them as it despised them, in which the average speed of transportation through the city had not increased in three hundred years, following five hundred years of fitful road-widening and unskillful compromises between the needs of traffic, whether horse-drawn, or, more recently, motorized, and the needs of pedestrians; a city inhabited by and teeming with people of every color and manner and kind.

When he had first arrived, he had found London huge, odd, fundamentally incomprehensible, with only the Tube map, that elegant multicolored topographical display of underground railway lines and stations, giving it any semblance of order. Gradually he realized that the Tube map was a handy fiction that made life easier but bore no resemblance to the reality of the shape of the city above. It was like belonging to a political party, he thought once, proudly, and then, having tried to explain the resemblance between the Tube map and politics, at a party, to a cluster of bewildered strangers, he had decided in the future to leave political comment to others.

He continued, slowly, by a process of osmosis and white knowledge (which is like white noise, only more useful), to comprehend the city, a process that accelerated when he realized that the actual City of London itself was no bigger than a square mile, stretching from Aldgate in the east to Fleet Street and the law courts of the Old Bailey in the west, a tiny municipality, now home to London's financial institutions, and that that was where it had all begun.

Two thousand years before, London had been a little Celtic village on the north shore of the Thames, which the Romans had encountered, then settled in. London had grown, slowly, until, roughly a thousand years later, it met the tiny Royal City of Westminster immediately to the west, and, once London Bridge had been built, London touched the town of Southwark directly across the river, and it continued to grow, fields and woods and marshland slowly vanishing beneath the flourishing town, and it continued to expand, encountering other little villages and hamlets as it grew, like Whitechapel and Deptford to the east, Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush to the west, Camden and Islington in the north, Battersea and Lambeth across the Thames to the south, absorbing all of them, just as a pool of mercury encounters and incorporates smaller beads of mercury, leaving only their names behind.

Neverwhere
A Novel
. Copyright © by Neil Gaiman . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date of Birth:
November 10, 1960
Place of Birth:
Portchester, England
Education:
Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
Website:
http://www.neilgaiman.com

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Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 252 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gaiman has the perfect combo of imagination with terror, thrills and fantasy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun fast read. I primarly enjoy horror/suspense, king and the such but deciced to give gaiman a look after reading a few of b.n reviews, I really enjoyed his style. Was able to connect with his characters actually caring if they survived through to the next chapter. I've since read other gaiman novels and am now pretty much hooked, he mixes fantasy with great chatacters like few can, love this guy, recommend- recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet another winning novel from the prolific imagination of the phenomenally talented Neil Gaiman, a true master of the art of storytellng in whatever medium he chooses to express himself. Well worth reading: the BBC's filmed adaptation is equally wothwhile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perhaps I am not used to this type of literature (about the "underworld") - wanted to stop reading it because of the peculiar story line, yet finished it after all. ODD story, peculiar writing style ....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first tead of Gaiman's stuff outside of "Sandman", and it hooked me on him forever.
cpauthor More than 1 year ago
For most of my adult life, I didn't really care for anything in the genre of fantasy, but thta all changed a few months ago when I belatedly read Gaiman's par-excellent comic book series The Sandman. After finishing that, to get my fix, I went out and read this book. Since then, I've not only followed Neil's work but also writers similar to Neil like Gene Wolfe, Roger Zelazney and Jonathan Carroll. If that weren't enough, I ended up publishing two fantasy stories of my own. Neil's work has played a pretty big role in my life lately.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I initially had to read the book because I lost a bet with my boyfriend. It was hard to get into as it is not a genre tht I normally read. But it was worth finishing. Defintely worth picking up.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
Great book I couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found myself getting lost in this book and being absorbed into its story. The characters are complex and real yet still magical. It's a new favorite book of mine. It's a book that feels as though the story is complete yet the world will never go. There's enough descrption to be in the world, be with the characters, and see through their eyes, but not so much that it feels tedious or forced. I highly recommend it for any fantasy reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Neil Giman has a gift for coming up with the most unusual stories. This one was highly enjoyable. If you're looking for something completely different than every other book you've ever read, this is the one you want!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first ever Neil Gaiman Book and I gotta say that the story is awesome. "Dark, contemporary Alice in Wonderland" is an excellent way to describe this book . If you're interested in reading Neil Gaiman and don't know where to start, Neverwhere is an excellent choice! Highly recommended !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was filled with lots of characters and funny dislog, but no real story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Neverwhere is a magnificently inventive story with a very brisk pace, a very interesting narrative and characters that will keep you reading from start to finish.
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