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Sunday, 5 May 2013

Review: Neverwhere

It's no surprise to anyone who's ever read anything by Neil Gaiman that he's a master of words. Actually, he wields words like a sword or a feather, crafting a feeling about a thing that one never realized they should, could or might feel.

"His skin felt clammy, and his eyes felt like they had been put in their sockets wrong, while his skull gave him the general impression that someone had removed it while he had slept and swapped it for another two or three sizes too small."

And then there are the characters he... illuminates. Because reading his stories, one gets the feeling the characters actually exist - have always been there, just outside the average person's realm of "normal" - and it's only with Gaiman's introduction that we finally get to meet them.

"The boy has the towering arrogance only seen in the greatest of artists and all nine-year-old boys."

That single sentence description introduces a very minor player in a story filled with much bigger personalities, and yet it's the kind of truth that gives the boy more substance than many people we see every day.

And that's the thing Neil Gaiman does with his stories, with Neverwhere. He gives wonderful, horrible, magical substance to things normally associated with dreams and nightmares, with the almost-real, the could-be-possible, and the only-seen-by-small-children-and-dogs.

Neverwhere is a story of good and evil, of above and below, seen and unseen, real and more real, and of a quest to find what was lost and lose what was found. It's a fairytale and a true story and the kind of book one reads again and again, just for the pleasure of the words.

(Shrugs as if it says all that needs to be said) It's Neil Gaiman.