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Paperback Castles

I live on a page in a book. My name is written in a curly and swirly font, along with long descriptions of sleepless nights and filled bookcases.

Currently reading

Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time, #1)
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis, Christopher Prendergast
Swanns verden 2 (På sporet af den tabte tid, #2)
Marcel Proust
The Essential Rumi
Rumi, Coleman Barks, John Moyne, A.J. Arberry
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman My boyfriend has just ordered me to stop hugging my book. So now I'm writing a review instead.

Metaphors failed him, then. He had gone beyond the world of metaphor and simile into the place of things that are, and it was changing him.

Of course I love, adore and worship this book. How could I not? Gaiman both mentions Disney World and Jane Austen, and he creates a mythical parallelworld filled with absurd and whimsical characters, who are both fantastical and believable.
The story, the writing, the setting, the characters, the combination of realism and fantasy are so well-crafted, that I have no other option than to reward the book with five stars and shelve it among my favorite books.

The premise of the story, the creation of Londow Below as a contrast to London Above is so original and extremely detailed. The underlying message of how much people tend to close their eyes when looking at the poor, the homeless and the helpless - ultimately making them invisible, is such a genuine observation. Gaiman seems to be celebrating the outcasts of society, and London Below is overpopulated with hopelessly naive and fearful individuals, trying to find their way in their own reality.
Richard Mayhew's loss of a job, an apartment and his girlfriend shows just how fast you can lose your entire identity in our modern society. Without these things he simply ceases to exist.

There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.

And the characters! So comical, disturbing, magical, endearing and interesting. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar may just be the best villains ever; their delight in murder and torture and their strange conversations are equally creepy and absurdly funny.
Lady Door is interesting and heartwarming; while Hunter is distanced, detached and cold. Marquis de Carabas almost resembles Rumplestiltskin with all his sneaky tricks and complicated deals. Angel Islington is also a perfect proof of just how dangerous real power can be; and how you should always beware of false appearances.
All the characters have their own individual voice, their own unique way of speaking, acting and reasoning. They all have a different life philosophy, a different quest and a different goal; and they all unite in a colorful explosion of betrayal, trust, friendship, deals and revenge. Perhaps "Neverwhere" could be interpreted as an insightful exploration of people's differences and interactions.

I'm going to go home. Everything is going to be normal again. Boring again. Wonderful again.

Richard Mayhew himself takes an incredible journey throughout the book. He starts as an unlikeable and trivial person chasing after a blurry dream of an 'ordinary life', and ends up as a courageous hero, a victor and a compassionate friend. As the book lacks towards the ending, he realizes his dream may not be so golden after all; he slowly changes and evolves. He discovers that his identity doesn't need to be defined by his apartment, his job or his girlfriend. He discovers who he is at the core of his being.

There was no moon but the night sky was a riot of crisp and glittering autumn stars. There were streetlights too and lights on buildings and on bridges which looked like earthbound stars and they glimmered repeated as they were reflected with the city in the night water of the Thames. It’s fairyland thought Richard.

This is a wonderful book; it will transport you to a surreal, and yet completely real, world with bizarre, and yet lovable, characters. The writing will slowly cast a spell on you; and you will fall in love with Gaiman's writing. It is inevitable, unavoidable.