Neverwhere (group read part 2) by Neil Gaiman
I may have been late last week, but for part 2 I’m all caught up. This week’s read covers chapters 6 through 12, so there will be spoilers.
- 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 he is entirely reasonable. And sensible. I think in the same situation I’d want to go home too. To be thrown into an unexpected situation is always hard, and to be put into one that he had absolutely no inkling of beforehand. Where you don’t know whats what, and all the realities you thought you knew are gone and in their place are new laws and facts. I would most certainly want to go home too.
- 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?
It is difficult to know where you stand with the Marquis, but judging by the fact that he is being tortured by Croup and Vandemar I think that we can know he isn’t on their side. Of course, I don’t think that anyone on their side would last much longer than anyone not on their side, they aren’t really team players I would think. The Marquis plays by his own rules, and he may not always seem the most reliable, or trustworthy of people, but I would think that if you can figure out exactly what *his* rules are then he is more than worth having around. And obviously Door’s father trusted and depended on him to some degree, which makes me think that there is still more to de Carabas than we have yet read.
- How did you feel about the Ordeal of the Key?
It reminded me a little of Monty Python. Not the Ordeal itself, but the fight and the questions preceding Richard’s part. I kept expecting someone to ask about the airspeed of a swallow!
As for Richard’s part, well, it does sort of make the reader think that has is gone mad? Is the whole book a delusion. But only very slightly. As readers we are outside Richard’s direct experiences so we know that this is the Ordeal, that this is his test. I do wonder though, would that aspect be more unsettling/effective with a first person narrator?
- 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.
It isn’t a moment, per se, but what stood out to me is Jessica. I have to be honest and say that it seems like she is a bit too much of an unsympathetic character. I never really got why Richard was in a relationship with her at all, apart from the fact that she wanted to be in one. But at the same time, her expectations, as are made clear by her parents, would probably have been for someone more successful in business. Richard doesn’t have that drive at all, I’m at a bit of a loss as to why she would invest so much in him when he really doesn’t seem her type, apart from the fact that he does what she says. And if that is all there is to it, well, it makes her too much of a bad-guy.
But I do like what it shows about how far Richard has come as a character. Okay, he is still following orders, but at least he is questioning them a little. And the very act of going to help Door in the first part, against Jessica’s wishes, shows that he does have a strong idea of right and wrong. And he isn’t about to do wrong.
- Any other things/ideas that you want to talk about from this section of the book?
I have to say I’m really liking all the hints about the Beast. And Hunter is quite cool in an unknowable sort of way. I sorta see her as a Zoe (from Firefly/Serenity) type when I picture her. Again, maybe a bit of a cliché warrior woman, but sometimes stereotypes are there for a reason