Monday, May 28, 2012

Neverwhere Group Read Part II

Welcome back everyone for the second installment of the group read of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Stainless Steel Droppings is our friendly instigator and supplier of witty, deeply insightful questions. Make sure to stop by his blog and see his thoughts on this book.

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 see two things: a) Richard is still scared, uncertain, and not welcoming of this new life with open arms. He isn't seeing the potential or the good things about London Below; b) He is desiring to return to his old life because it is familiar, not because he has really great friends, an awesome girlfriend, and a kickass career waiting for him.

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?

Is he playing everyone? How did he know where and when to meet with Croup and Vandemar? What is in that box he gave to Old Bailey? It's been years since I read this book, and some of the answers to these questions have faded.

I have to say the dude is playing everyone and doing it stylishly dressed. But I don't remember what his end goal is, so I am very curious about what is motivating him.

That scene with him and Croup and the T'ang Dynasty figurine was great.

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

Talk about Richard's inner doubts pulling out all the stops! But I think he faced those self-destructive demons in the end and made a decision to live and to live well. That quartz bead reminder was a nice touch to ground him in reality.

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.

Hunter's dream sequence which is more of a memory concerning the 300 pound weasel that she slew. She then presented the hide to a special young lady who was appropriately grateful. Such a simple phrase - how was she grateful? Hmm.....

Also, Old Bailey telling punny jokes to his birds. That is funny in a pathetic kind of way. But I can relate, since I am very bad with telling jokes.

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

Croup needs to take Vandemar to a buffet every once in a while.
That whole scene at the museum with Jessica and Mr. Stockton - I was really hoping that things would go wrong for Jessica some how because I felt that by things going right it would reinforce her self-centered traits (which isn't healthy).
Did the Atlanteans know how to make wine, or what?
Lady Serpentine - I Want The Back Story!


  1. I would like to try some of the wine as well.  And I also wanted to know more about Lady Serpentine.    I could totally relate to Old Bailey...I mess up every joke I try to say so I no longer even try.  And I had to chuckle when you said Croup should take Vandemar to a buffet.  I'm not sure I would want to go to that buffet.  

  2. I love the quartz bead, too.  Anaesthesia is one of my favorite characters, so it was nice to see her make a (sorta) appearance. 

    Old Bailey cracks me up.  I love that the birds think they're some deeper meaning to the jokes he tells (and don't seem to care that he tells them poorly).  And I think you're right - Croup does need to take Vandemar to a buffet!  I don't want to see what kind of food they serve at that buffet, though . . . Ew.

  3. "Familiarity" is very much what I see Richard longing for, and it is such an easy to relate to thing.  I think we all long for the familiar, especially when we are uncomfortable.  Richard squirms between two different "worlds", neither of which he has taken an active part of actually inhabiting.  I am uncomfortable for Richard and it makes me uncomfortable in examining my own decisions at times.

    The Marquis seems to be a character who knows everyone and knows about everything.  He seems like the kind of character who would only thrive on having the most information he can possibly have.  I think there would be no better person to have on your side in London Below and yet he would really never be on "your" side so much as on his own side.

    I love how the bead grounded him.  Such a nice, sweet and powerful moment.

    I'm not sure Jessica is bad, just lost in ways like Richard only from a different perspective.  I'd actually like to see the experience shake her out of her own bad habits but I don't see that happening.   Makes me sad for her.

    Vandemar does have some interesting tastes, doesn't he?

  4.  Yes, I'd gargle and spit with that wine myself.

  5. Hunter's dream was very intriguing and not just because it had a 300 lb weasel. It left me with so many more questions about how this world works! :)

  6. OMG! Great thoughts ... definitely agree with the impression of marquisdeC ... as for Jessica and the museum gig ... bet she was stressed the next day when thingas hadn't gone as expected all the waty around ... C&V continue to confirm in my mind just what evil is... and oh yeah, what's the deal with Lady Serpentine and Lady Door's bigtime fear?

  7.  I bet there would be rat tail soup, amphibian heads in eel sauce, and mushroom-beetle bruschetta. Sure you don't want to tag along?

  8.  That quartz bead was a nice touch, reminding Richard what this trip has already cost, and not just cost him.

  9.  Deep thoughts. Glad you brought them.

    I don't think Jess is necessarily bad, not like Croup & Vandemar, but she is very set in her idea of what is acceptable and what is not and it is a very narrow definition. I would like to see her grow out of that.

  10.  I also like Hunter's answer to Richard later on about her various hunting trips and her hopes to challenge the beast of London Below. Very goal-oriented is our Hunter.

  11. I wonder what some of those 'Be good or I will sick Serpentine on you' stories were from childhood... and what is that relationship between Hunter and Serpentine? Very intriguing. And Serpentine has sisters - what do they do and are they all something to be feared? 

  12. I'm rather curious about the box as well, especially because of the whole "the rats will know what to do" message that came with it.

  13.  Old Bailey seemed to know what it was, just not what to do with it. I remember the first time I read this book, I was very curious about the contents of that box.

  14. I loved the Old Bailey and bird sequence. It was so funny and yet, as you say, kind of pathetic. It was fun how the birds turned themselves into mini anthropologists in their attempt to decipher the human animal.

  15. I think maybe most people would know where to find Croup and Vandemar - it's not going to have to be a secret, is it, because only an idiot would want to visit them....?

    I love the bit with Old Bailey and the birds, you feel that they are fond of him and that he's just one of those naturally good people.

  16. I liked the birds too, I can imagine them analysing us in London above too, they always look like they know something when they tilt their heads to look at you.