Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book Review: Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is a classic Hero's Journey as described in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Bollingen Series). As in American Gods: A Novel and Anansi Boys, the protagonist starts out leading an unsatisfying life that is turned upside down by unexpected events, goes through an eventful journey, and comes out a changed person on the other side. This is the classic initiation experience, and that is why Mr. Gaiman's books are so important to us as recovering materialists. We must all make our own journey through the dark wood, and the science fiction and fantasy novels (and The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso)) give us roadmaps for doing so.

The book is set in modern London, and the main character's job was so dull that I don't even remember what it was. He was engaged to a socialite who obviously wasn't right to him, so the events that start the story seem to me to be no great loss. I don't want to give away any more of the plot, so let's just say it resembles the Tower tarot card. And like the other of his books that I've read, the process of reading it cuts you to pieces and puts you back together in a shamanic-type experience.

Anyway, read the book. At the very least, Dante's Inferno won't seem nearly so scary afterward.

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