January, 2018: Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’. An Introduction.

So it’s January! We have braved our way through a tumultuous 2017, and here we are on the other side. A brand new year! Feels different, doesn’t it? No? Okay, it kind of doesn’t feel any different – but it’s time for me to make good on my personal project. A book a month! I’m super excited.

I didn’t want to start too heavy for fear that choosing a long and dense text might put me off of the challenge in the first month, and that would be awful awful awful. So, I scanned my bookshelf for a cover that said; ‘fast-paced’, ‘fantastical’, and ‘highly engaging’. I plucked out many-a-book, but settled on a fantasy novel I had picked up from a local second-hand bookstore. Neil Gaiman‘s, Neverwhere.

The bookstore in question goes by the name of ‘Typewronger Books‘ and is situated along Leith Walk, in Edinburgh. It’s currently a pop-up stall erected on weekends, but I have reason to believe that the owner is looking to set up a bricks-and-mortar business in the near future. Neverwhere was handed to me by the owner, Tom, when I remarked that I hadn’t yet read anything by Gaiman despite having heard his speeches online. Tom had helpfully placed his own summary on a slip of paper attached to the paperback:

London Below ~ knights, fealty, favours and floating markets, beware Night’s Bridge! And there is nothing funny about “MIND THE GAP”…

An instant purchase.

It was comfortably slotted in amongst my other paperbacks. I thought it would stay there for sometime, what with other books on my ‘must reads’ list having higher priority – but one day in late December I found the book in my hands, as if it had teleported across the room or manifested in front of me. Clearly, it was a sign.

I’m already halfway through, and we’re only now a week into the New Year. Alas! Perhaps I thought too little of myself when I began this project? Should it have been a book a week? A book a fortnight? I maintain that I made the right decision limiting myself to one book a month. Sure, I will likely finish Neverwhere within the next week, but what if I had plucked Hilary Mantel‘s 672 page monster Wolf Hall instead?

So the journey continues. Expect a review at the end of the month, and perhaps an article or two in between? We’ll see, we’ll see.

  • Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, published by Headline (2013)

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