Monday, 28 May 2012

Neverwhere Read-along Week 2

Week 2 of Carl's Neverwhere read-along. It has been really interesting reading other blogs and seeing what people like, dislike, and what they think of the story so far. I was intersted that so many people saw Hunter as Zoe from Firefly. She is certainly the same kind of no-nonsense female warrior.

So how is the story developing this week?

1.  Chapter 6 begins with Richard chanting the mantra, "I want to go home".  How do you feel about Richard and his reactions at this point to the unexpected adventure he finds himself on?

I think Richard's reactions are perfectly understandable. Who hasn't, at the start of some journey (usually self-inflicted) wondered what they are doing and why are they here, and how can they get out of it? True, Richard's journey is a little more extreme than most, and a lot more bizarre. At this stage I don't think any the less of him for his reaction.

2.  The Marquis de Carabas was even more mysterious and cagey during the first part of this week's reading.  What were your reactions to him/thoughts about him as you followed his activities?

Door's "psychotic grand vizier" just gets more psychotic! His behaviour is high-handed, arrogant, and he treats Richard very badly. However, I still couldn't help enjoying his adventures. Interesting that we get to hear some of his reputation - trickster, thief, body-snatcher, traitor, fraud, cheat and possibly even a monster. However, he is honourable, in his fashion. Old Bailey has time for him, and trusts him. So did Door's father, but he is dead, and we have no way of knowing how reliable his judgment was. Serpentine thought he was an idiot. I wanted to read ahead and see what happened to him when Vandemar and Croup finished with him, but I retrained myself.

3.  How did you feel about the Ordeal of the Key?

The Ordeal of the Key was creepy, mainly because it wasn't actually gory. Sometimes what is inside your head can be a lot scarier than what, however terrifying, is outside it. It was a lovely touch, too, that it was Anaesthesia's bead that got Richard through it.

4.  This section of the book is filled with moments.  Small, sometimes quite significant, moments that pass within a few pages but stick with you.  What are one or two of these that you haven't discussed yet that stood out to you, or that you particularly enjoyed.

The marquis giving the tune to Lear, the busker, and warning him to be sparing with it. Then having to call it off so that people stop pelting Lear with money.

Mr Croup telling Mr Vandemar he had to be more careful with his toys.

The abbot correcting Richard's misquotation of Shakespeare.

5.  Any other things/ideas that you want to talk about from this section of the book?

I do like the way London Below is being fleshed out. I don't know if I'd like to meet Serpentine, though I'd quite like to go to a fancy dress party as her, or the Earl from Earl's Court, but the Abbot of Blackfriars is a sweetie.  It's very clever, how all the monks' names are synonyms for black. (Brother Fuliginous does sound more impressive than Brother Sooty). 
I think Richard has passed some kind of turning point now. He has realised that he doesn't belong with Jessica and her world, but he still has to find out if he fits in London Below. Passing the Ordeal of the Key will maybe help  him find his place

I am looking forward to the last third of the book.


  1. The tune was so amusing, especially since you know the Marquis saw it coming. In London Below one needs to be careful what one wishes for... :D

  2. I think that we get to see a bit of the London Below perspective towards London Above in the way that the Marquis treats Richard. The people in London Below are ostensibly looked down upon or ignored and I think the Marquis goes out of his way to regularly remind Richard that he is out of his element there and is not welcome.

    Good call on the Black Friars names, I hadn't ever considered that. They are an interesting bunch. I cannot help but wonder what purpose they will serve now that they no longer have a key to guard.

    I love that the Marquis only gets more mysterious with his actions and not less so. We don't even really get a sense that we have him figured out before he says or does something that heightens the mystery.

  3. I, too, loved the whole deal with Lear and the marquis de C ... although I thought the marquis was a bit vindictive about how he got Lear out of the mess that the song had gotten him into ... but I've never liked anyone that woud utter words like, "I told you so!"

    And the Black Friars are such a neat group of souls ... but that parting shot .. God help us all has got me quivering in my literary boots!

  4. I had not caught on to the fact that the monks are all variants of the color black! and this is a re-read for me! (Dork Alert). That is cool of you to point it out and it adds another layer of enjoyment to the book for me.

  5. I love the part where the abbot corrected Richard's misquotation, too, as well as Anaesthesia's bead. I hadn't noticed the thing about their names – nice job! Glad one of us was paying attention :)