Monday, June 04, 2012

Neverwhere Group Read Conclusion

"Mr. Vandemar's voice was a night wind blowing over a desert of bones."

Indeed, there we have it. Neverwhere, gone just like that. No more Door or Richard or de Carabas or Hunter or any other of the bizarre and surreal things one might encounter in the world of London Below. The mystery has been solved, the enemies have been relatively vanquished, and the world has been put back to its correct tilt. Mostly.

What am I to say about this fascinating book? What stood out to me? The fact that the book was a non-stop, action-filled, page turner goes without saying. The cast of characters is brilliant. Door maintained her aura of mystical powers, as well as her righteous anger at her families massacre. Hunter--poor, poor Hunter--was the betrayer, unexpected, and her demise was terrible. It left me wanting to know so much more of her past exploits to better understand her desire to slay the Beast. The marquis de Carabas died and came back through machinations I didn't entirely understand to fulfill a favor and take on another. Wow. Islington being a horrible monster was also a surprise.

But what of Richard? Did his life change? Did he grow and develop? Yes, through the Ordeal, and then again at the slaying of the Beast. He saw what his life was and how meaningless it was. Gaiman kept me confused and intrigued, wondering if perhaps Richard really was cracked in the head and London Below was simply imaginary. I honestly did not know, and I suppose if I thought hard enough I could argue either way. Perhaps he really is a loon and has made it all up, but I don't think so. And after leaving London Below he could no longer live with himself and his dull and unexciting life.

This part reminds me a lot of a person that plugs in and does missions/humanitarian aid in our world. Often the people that do this literally have life changing experiences and it's hard for them to return to their normal life unchanged. This mindset is exactly how I imagined Richard's.

I very much enjoyed Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It was thought-provoking and entertaining. Gaiman kept me in the dark through much of the novel (and in parts after), and I'm once again glad that such a writer exists. Thanks, Mr. Gaiman, for giving us the tale. And thanks Carl for finally giving me the nudge to pick the book up off my shelf and dive in.


nrlymrtl said...

I also loved how Gaiman kept me guessing throughout the novel. Infact, now that it is over, I am still wondering a few things - like is Door's sister really dead? Did Islington squirrel her away some where? Did no one, like de Carabas, count bodies at the beginning of the story?

Sue CCCP said...

In many ways, Richard's experiences at the end of the book reminded me of Frodo's comment at the end of The Return of the King: that it felt like he was falling asleep again after living his exciting life.

Susan Lindquist said...

Yes, indeed, itwas a page turner! I found it hard to put the book down when the prescribed chunk had been read ... like you, it will stay with me for a while. I'll continue to think about certain passages and ask questions ... I remember Carl saying that he gets something new out of each reading, so perhaps I'll re-read it in another year or so and see what new insights I might have.

logankstewart said...

@nrlymrtl: Ooh, good question. Maybe Door's sister is still alive. I'd just thought Islington was lying to trick Door, but it could have been telling the truth, keeping her location secret to have a Plan B. But, thinking about it, would Door's siblings have the same abilities as Door? If so, then it wouldn't make sense to keep the girl alive. Hmm. Good thought!

Geranium Cat said...

I thought Islington was lying about Door's sister but felt a real pang for Door because she'll always wonder.

I guess we can all think of some kind of life-changing experience that makes it hard to go back to how things were before, but I think it's true that the more profound the experience, the harder it is to go back - for me, Richard's decision rings true. There are some clocks you can't put back.

Christine said...

I felt sorry for Hunter, too. She got so wrapped up in her quest to kill the Beast--she thought that was the ONLY thing important to her.. but she ended up befriending Door and Richard, and I think she realized a little too late that she made such terrible, wasteful decisions. I'm glad she kind of redeemed herself before she died.

I have similar questions to the ones nrlymrtl raises and the comments you made in your reply, Logan. Driving me batty. Lol!

Carl V. said...

I'm so glad you decided to read this book along with us. Even more thrilled that you enjoyed it so much.

Yes, Hunter was a surprise and it was bittersweet to see her demise. Too much focus on her own desires was her downfall, and it was sad to see what she was willing to give up in pursuit of her goals.

I'm glad to see someone else mention Frodo, as I've felt the same way about Richard since the first time I experienced LOTR (through the films). There is a similarity of discontentment with the way things are, and more deeply a true inability to reintegrate in life as it was. There is a cost to these kind of adventures, and it can be tragic but it makes for a rich story when you see and have to confront and deal with that cost.