Monday, June 1, 2009

Green Pies

It would seam that Neil Gaiman is a love or hate.  People either rave about him or do not like his style.  Mostly I have heard ravers, but Gaiman himself admits that some may like some of his material but not others, and until one has been subjected to all his material one can not truly call themselves a hater, because perhaps they have not yet found the work that he has written that speaks to them.  That was a rather long paraphrase and perhaps slightly out of context, but that is what I took out of what he wrote on the subject. 

I myself was quite indifferent for the longest time.  I wanted to love, but had not yet found a material I could relate to and thus was hesitant to keep wading through lest I never come across the material that spoke to me.  I saw Stardust the movie.  And was itching to pick up the book.  But what made it for me (the bit that tipped the scales) was the gay pirate.  He does not exist in the book.  I was so thoroughly disappointed that I was unable to value the book. 

I picked up Coraline.  It was for children, it was odd, it was creepy.  It was like a weird waking dream (not a good dream, but not quite a nightmare truly either).  I wanted to like it, but no amount of wanting quite struck it home for me.  Indifference was the best I could muster towards Coraline.  I did see the movie, was quite excited for it.  Hoped perhaps it would pull a Stardust and kick the books but.  It was good, but left me with a similar taste of indifference in my mouth. 

Enter Patrick Rothfuss and his many book recommendations.  He professes the shear brilliance of Neil Gaiman the way I worship Robin Hobb.  He recommended Neverwhere as a good starting point for those unsure of Gaiman.  And although I had tried several other starting points, a part of me was still determined to understand the magnitude of Gaiman’s brilliance.  And thus is why the third time is the charm (never mind the idiom “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”).


Book:  Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pass or Fail:  Pass

Stars: **** 1/3 (4 1/3)

Richard Mayhew is well on his way to a decent London life, he has a job, a fiancé, an apartment, and a routine.  His life is planned and plodding ahead according to said plan. 

And then a girl stumbles out of a wall, bleeding and in desperate need of help.  Door.

Within twenty-four hours of assisting her, he no longer exists in the London Above, the London as he knows it.  He becomes virtually invisible.  He has fallen through the cracks of society and now finds himself in London Bellow.  A world of secrets and lost time. Of underground labyrinths and rooftop vistas.  A London that London doesn’t even know about or has forgotten existed. 

But in London Bellow he is hard pressed to find anyone who is willing to explain to him his present circumstances.  In feeling dejected he finds the one person who influenced his current situation, Door, the girl who needed help. 

A girl who still needs help as she is on a desperate mission to stay alive and find the culprits who killed her family.  Reluctantly he is enveloped into her entourage on her quest. 

Quest – commencing… GO READ THE BOOK if you want the rest of the tail. 

This book has a great cast of characters.  Characters that are uniquely their own, and bring their own baggage to the table.  Characters that one could love and one could hate.  Although I did not find this an extraordinarily character driven book.  I found I liked the characters, was very, very fond of the characters, but was in it more for the journey and adventure.

It is a humorous book.  And it is humorous in the description of everyday events described poignantly in a witty but truthful way.  Bluntly truthful.  Cruelly truthful.  And silly.  He is silly sometimes, and I appreciate that.  He thinks outside the box and perhaps if your mind is not also outside that box it would explain why not all people understand and can appreciate all of his works.  But once your mind is outside that box with him, well you are in for one hell of a treat.  

I loved this book.  This book is what has persuaded me to reserve the rest of his material from the library, to find other material were my mind travels outside of the regular norms on the journey he is about to weave. 

This author drives me a bit mad.  It seams that he has his finger in so many creative pies.  Actually I am plain out jealous.  Spiting green with envy.  He has so many different genres of creativity under his belt and he seams to draw in audiences no matter what the medium.  I wish he would just stick to one so that it might be feasible to reach his level of creative genius. But now, how is anyone ever going to outshine Neil?  He has moved into the realm of mysticisms among his own kind.