The first Neil Gaiman book I read was Stardust. I’d seen and greatly enjoyed the film. I was sadly disappointed by the novel. I’m not sure why, precisely, but I didn’t like it. I put it to one side and chalked up Gaiman to the list of authors I was in no hurry to read again.

However, subsequent reading of American Gods for a uni. course and stumbling across a BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Neverwhere (featuring a stellar cast including, but not limited to, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer and Benedict Cumberbatch) has had me revise my low opinion of Neil Gaiman’s work.

And now I’ve just finished reading Neverwhere, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s just Stardust the novel I don’t like. Every writer has at least one not-so-good book, after all. Even the critically acclaimed ones.

Neverwhere follows Richard Mayhew as he falls through the cracks into London Below, a place of mystery and danger, where the names of the Underground stations suddenly make sense. There’s an Earl at Earl’s Court, shepherds at Shepherd’s Bush, and Angel Islington is an angel. Richard ends up in London Below because he took pity on an injured girl one evening (on his way to a posh dinner with his fiancee’s boss…).

Richard, though, just wants to get back to London Above, but in order to do so, he must help the Lady Door find out what happened to her family.

Now, admittedly, I think I prefer the radio adaptation (I think I read somewhere that it was originally a BBC screenplay, filmed and aired some point in the mid-90s), but that was a few years ago, so if you can pilfer a copy of the novel from your sister, that’d do too.


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