Publication year: 1996
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 1998
Finnish translator: Mika Kivimäki
Format: print
Page count: 315
Finnish publisher: Otava

First off, I really don’t care for the Finnish cover. The only thing that interested me in the cover was Gaiman’s name (I was already reading Sandman at the time).

Richard Mayhew is mostly an ordinary man; he lives in London in a small apartment, has a job he doesn’t love but doesn’t hate either, and he has a fiancée, Jessica, with a glamorous job. However, he has an unexpected side too: he sees the homeless as people and wants to help them. In fact, this trait gets him into trouble. He and Jessica are on their way to an important meeting when Richard sees a wounded girl on the street and insists on helping her. Jessica walks away in a huff; she gives money to charities and that should be enough. Richard takes the girl to his apartment.

However, Door is no ordinary girl. She’s from London Below and two eccentric murderers are tracking her. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermar have killed Door’s whole family and coming to her next. Door tries to keep Richard out of trouble but doesn’t succeed.

Through his random act of kindness, Richard gets mixed up in the bizarre world of the London Below where the people who fall down the society’s cracks live as best they can. It’s full of wonders and adventure but also a place for misery and betrayals. People and places aren’t what they appear to be at first glance. The people living in the London Above don’t know about this other London and indeed often don’t even see the homeless and the sick around them.

London Below works on a barter system with items and favors, and Richard has very little to barter. In fact, he has difficulties in believing what is happening right before him. Yet, he tries to help as best he can.

Neverwhere is full of strange and eccentric characters and places. Gaiman took London’s place names and made them more literal places or people. Old Bailey is an old man who lives on the roofs with his birds and the Earl’s Court is literally a court that the Earl keeps.

Even though many of the people living in London Below are desperately poor and live in awful conditions, the book has a lot of humor, charming characters, and wondrous little moments.