Synopses & Reviews
Interview with Neil Gaiman
"Neverwhere is your first novel. Compared to your work in graphic novels, what were some of the challenges you experienced in writing your first work of narrative fiction?
The cast of characters in "Neverwhere includes an angel, a beast, an orphaned lady with special powers, and an Amazonesque huntress. Were any of these characters figures you'd explored in other works, or were they completely new to this book?
Everyone's new ... although when I was a very young man (I think I was about 18) I started my first book, about a teenage boy going to learn magic at a public school that taught that sort of thing, and Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were in there. They were eating a dead puppy in sixteenth-century Venice. I never finished the schoolboy magic book (although in 1988 I brought some of it back in the "Books of Magic graphic novel) but I always knew one day I'd find a home for Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar.
Richard Mayhew is such a wonderful protagonist. His foibles -- from his curiosity about this strange London Below he's encountered to his hatred of heights -- make him extremely likable. Does he share any qualities with any of your other fictional protagonists?
Well, he'snot a typical hero, and he has that in common with all the others. Beyond that, I don't really know.
Your account of London's abandoned Underground is captivating. Did many of the obsolete Tube stations you mention in your book really exist at one time? Have you seen them?
Yes, they do and they did. I've been to several of the abandoned stations, although British Museum Station (closed, after a fire 70 years ago) has been completely lost.
At what point in your manuscript did you realize that Richard would choose to remain in London Below. To your knowledge, how have your readers responded to this decision?
Is there any possibility of a sequel to "Neverwhere? Richard's decision would seem to leave the door open to further adventures in London Below.
Well, yes. It's just there are so many other stories to tell. But I do know the shape of the next story -- it's called "The Seven Sisters.
Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her--and the life he knows vanishes like smoke.
Several hours later, the girl is gone too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won't stop for him, his hundred rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.
For this is the home of Door, the mysterious girl whom Richard rescued in the London Above. A personage of great power and nobility in this murky, candlelit realm, she is on a mission to discover the cause of her family's slaughter, and in doing so preserve this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. And with nowhere else to turn, Richard Mayhew must now join the Lady Door's entourage in their determined--and possibly fatal--quest.
For the dread journey ever-downward--through bizarre anachronisms and dangerous incongruities, and into dusty corners of stalled time--is Richard's final hope, his last road back to a "real" world that is growing disturbingly less real by the minute.
If Tim Burton reimagined The Phantom of the Opera, if Jack Finney let his dark side take over, if you rolled the best work of Clive Barker, Peter Straub and Caleb Carr into one, you still would have something that fell far short of Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE. It is a masterful debut novel of darkly hypnotic power, and one of the most absorbing reads to come along in years.
About the Author
Neil Gaiman is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for adults and children, including the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and Make Good Art, the text of a commencement speech he delivered at Philadelphias University of the Arts.
He is the recipient of numerous literary honors, including the Locus and Hugo Awards and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. 1.8 million people follow him on Twitter.
Born and raised in England, Neil Gaiman now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, the rock star Amanda Palmer.