It might have been less than 100 pages but chapters 1 through 5 had a LOT of story to absorb! Below are my thoughts on this section, some discussion questions for you to respond to, and a reminder about the next section & photo challenge.
Today’s featured photo is by @bookworm_365 such a creative photo incorporating the ‘maps’ challenge really well plus the rats who feature in this section! Can’t wait to see how you interpret the next challenge…
Week 2 – Chapters 1 – 5
“His life so far, he decided, had prepared him perfectly for a job in securities, for shopping at the supermarket, for watching football on telly on the weekends, for turning on a heater if he got cold. It magnificently failed to prepare him for a life as an un-person on the roofs and in the sewers of London, for life in the cold and the wet and the dark.”
Honourable mention to: “To say that Richard Mayhew was not very good at heights would be perfectly accurate, but it would fail to give the full picture; it would be like describing the planet Jupiter as bigger than a duck.”
Characters introduced: (lots this week!)
– Mr Croup*
– Mr Vandemar*
– Marquis de Carabas*
– Old Bailey
– Lord Rat Speaker
– Master Longtail
Well, the story really kicks off with a bang! The prologue set the scene (gloomy and gothic as some of you observed) and the first 5 chapters really plunged us into the story. There were a lot of new characters introduced, but I never felt like there was too many to keep track of, as each was given time and context to settle in. Gaiman’s playful way of describing characters had me smiling more than once, and you can really see they joy he took in writing them. In particular I loved his description of Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar, which included 4 helpful differences and ended with the phrase “Also they look nothing at all alike”.
This is a hard section to discuss because there is so much contrast between Richard’s time in London Above (with Jessica and the challenge he has at being the ‘competent’ boyfriend she wants him to be) and the quite literally dark and gritty world of London Below. To me the descriptions of Richard’s life in London Above just reinforce how hapless he is. He is not the hero of his own story, he doesn’t quite fit in, but bobs along with the crowd, until a tipping point – Door’s appearance on the street – where he surprises everyone, including himself, in doing what he thinks is right. My favourite scene was the journey to and crossing of Knightsbridge. It really underscored how brutal London Below is, and introduced Hunter, who I am looking forward to seeing more of.
(Feel free to reply to each other, and to ignore my questions if you have something else to talk about!)
1. How are you feeling about Neverwhere 100 pages in?
2. What was your favourite quote?
3. Richard says that he had had “nightmares in which he simply wasn’t there” as a child and had the awful experience of having this come quite literally true. This stood out to me as a moment to reflect on the anonymity of the cities we live in and the ‘bubbles’ we create for ourselves, and I have often felt that sensation of being invisible living in a huge city. Did this or any other moments in this section really resonate with you?
4. Gaiman is known for his vibrant and creative descriptions, do any of the places in Neverwhere so far appear really vividly in your imagination?
Next: Week 3 – Chapters 6 – 10
Discussion date: 16th October
Photo Challenge: #booksanddoors – In the prologue Richard is warned to ‘beware of doors’ and this week we met Door and travelled through a great many doors, and even discovered a house with no doors! Doors are a recurring theme throughout this book, so come up with your most creative interpretation of ‘books and doors’.
Remember to use the tag #BabblingBooksRA on your photos, and feel free to tag me @babblingbooks in your captions. I’ll be reviewing the tag throughout the week and choosing my favourites to be featured next Thursday.