Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party.
Book: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication date: 1996, Perennial edition: 2003
Summary: Richard Mayhew lived the office drone life in London, with only his more sophisticated and ambitious girlfriend to push him out of his comfort zones. But as she pushed in one direction, a different one falls on the sidewalk in front of him, in the form of an injured woman who requested help and safety but resisted the offer to call for an ambulance. Richard defied his girlfriend to help the woman, setting himself on a path far away from his ordinary life into a world under London that he only knew from hints in his dreams.
Thoughts: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is a great companion book to London Under by Peter Ackroyd. The first creates a fictional world under London and the second illuminates what’s really there (and where one could easily imagine the creatures from Gaiman’s imagination).
I’m looking forward to seeing the London that fits this description:
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. p. 8
Appeal: Anyone who loves London is likely to enjoy this book, even if you don’t read fantasy. And, anyone who loves fantasy set in the modern world, will enjoy this whether or not the London setting is of particular attraction.
Have you read Neverwhere? What did you think?