Krill or meaning?

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

“He had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once

I like to think that my blogs help authors promote their books, and of course give me a creative outlet.  Mr Gaiman kills that.  When the author writes something as simply perfect as this what’s the point?!  You don’t need blogs to promote this kind of genius, a couple of quotes will do.

This is urban fantasy that sets out to delight, bewitch and scare you.  It succeeds.  It’s a kind of gender inversed Alice in Wonderland for jaded grown ups.   If you love London then it’s for you. And if you’ve never ventured here, then you’ll see things the Londoner misses.

“Young man,” he said, “understand this: there are two Londons. There’s London Above – that’s where you lived – and then there’s London Below – the Underside – inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world. Now you’re one of them. Good night

For all the fabulous characters what sung to me was the perfection of London for an urban fantasy.  I won’t look at Harrods quite the same again or Earl’s Court.

When fantasy is this fantastic do you worry about the “meaning” or do you just enjoy?  I decided to wallow in it.  Completely, I was like huge whale feasting on a swarm of krill.  Even at the end I could have had more. What’s it really all about?  I’m not actually sure, but when it’s this well written who cares?!

The other issue with Neil Gaiman’s writing is you realise you’ve not read enough of it.  So, less with the blogs and more with the reading.

 

So quotable

The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane

The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane Neil Gaiman

Over a month after reading this I still have no real idea of what this book was about or what I thought of it.  But I’m still pondering it. That has to mean something, surely?!

What I’m fairly sure is that this is a celebration and exploration of childhood. Maybe every parent should read it, probably when you little ones aren’t toddlers but are still inhabiting the magical world only they can create.

‘Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands;  perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.’

I might not get Gaiman’s full story but this I got. Way too often I’m that adult, even when I wish I wasn’t. Sad hey?! Such a beautiful point, totally stuck in my mind and effortlessly made.

‘Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.’

The thought that all adults are just large sized kids both charms and chills me. Do I agree? I’m not sure, the insides of most adults probably reflect the experiences of their time on earth. Good or bad experiences basic maths says that adults have a hell of a lot more than the average 6 year old. But it’s a truth that little children think that adults always know what to do and are never scared. It’s what makes being a teenager a scary experience.

What I loved about this book was the impact that a few words can have. Neil Gaiman’s ability to craft a few words into a memorable quote is enviable.  I guess I should talk about the relationships and speculate about Lettie’s fate, but you know what I loved most were the quotes, so I’d rather share a few of my favourites.

‘I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else’ 

“Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”

All monsters are scared. That’s why they’re monsters.”

“And did I pass?”
The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk.
On my left the younger woman said,
“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

And there are plenty more where they came from, go and find out for yourself!