09 – Neverwhere

I’m a little sad that I’ve never read Neil Gaiman until now.

Alright, so I’ve read Coraline. But it didn’t really impress me that much, and though the Other Mother was a scary bitch it just didn’t seem like the work of an author worth my devotion.

So what sparked the Gaiman reading list?

I have had Sandman on my to read list for years, but it was only when I bought Sherlock the iPad that I finally had the chance to read it properly. It might be some sort of synchronicity, but this is also the year I discovered Good Omens. Obviously, I finally had the push I needed to read Gaiman’s work.

So I started with Neverwhere. Prior to reading it I had zero knowledge of its plot. I rarely read blurbs now, and I really am far too lazy to google stuff. And so I jumped in with no idea what to expect, but it definitely blew me away.

It’s a great adventure, one that sources its strength from unmitigated imagination. The story draws from the most mundane of things: a transport system. The London Underground, in Gaiman’s deft hands, becomes a world of absolute wonder and – in more than one occasion – terror.

Perhaps what hit me most about the novel was the fact that it made me want to be a Londoner. Not necessarily because I want to be British, but because it would have given me a much richer experience of the story. You know how it is to take the bloody train in this country every day? Now if someone wrote such an intricate and magical novel about the MRT in the manner Gaiman has, I might freaking flip.

I have a very soft spot for novels that weave the magical with the mundane. The best parts of Harry Potter for me were those times when he would discover just how cleverly hidden the magical world was in regular London. Sirius’ home, for example, was one of the most magical things the books ever gave me.

Perhaps it’s because I live a life that the younger me would find dreary, but I remember that even as a child I was fascinated with what might be lurking beneath the regular world I had to live in. Neverwhere is a lovely indulgence, and I would most definitely want to indulge in one of Gaiman’s novels again.

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