My sister told me that if I was going to read more Neil Gaiman, I would not be disappointed in his audiobooks–she could not have been more right. Listening to him read me Neverwhere was the most profoundly enjoyable audiobook experience yet. I can’t imagine Mr. Croup or Mr. Vandermar in voices other than his, nor can I think about the other characters without his distinctive voice guiding their images in my head.
Richard Mayhew lives an ordinary life in London, he has a pretty fiancee named Jessica, and he works a perfectly respectable job. Then, he encounters a bleeding, odd young woman on the sidewalk, and his compassion in taking her in and cleaning her wounds leads him to fall through the cracks of his ordinary life to a London “below.” There, he discovers a nasty and magical world full of mystery, deception, and incredible beauty. The young woman, named Door, is the only surviving member of her dynastic family, and she seeks shelter and justice. Richard goes on an epic journey of danger and self-discovery to see if he can help Door–and himself, in the process.
Changing cars (and thus, audio systems) put the listening of this audiobook on hold for a few months, but the last week was spent listening compulsively to this novel. Gaiman is an engaging narrator, and his novels are always full of the magic and horror that can only exist in his imagination. Door is one of my favorite characters ever–she is both innocent and worldly, pixie-ish and tough at the same time. And let’s be honest: I’m all about Misters Croup and Vandermar. Or, as I put it on Goodreads, “Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermar: still a better love story than Twilight.”