It never ceases to amaze me how the fantasy genre is consistently overlooked as a source of "serious literature" (whatever that means). No, "Neverwhere" is not pregnant with convoluted Jamesian sentences, nor does it possess the lyrical beauty of a Nabakov novel, or break any new literary boundaries. What it does do (more completely and thoroughly than anything I've read in quite a while) is ENTERTAIN. Gaiman is a wonderful story-teller, and "Neverwhere" is resplendent with a well-constructed mythos, three-dimensional characters, and a storyline that hurtles you through the pages like a juggernaut. The protagonist, Richard Mayhew, plays an affable anti-hero, and Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar are quite possibly two of the most entertaining villians ever put to print. It is a worthwhile literary endeavor. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either incompetent or just plain wrong. Will this book be on The Modern Library's Top 100 books of the 20th century? Probably not, but considering what an outright farce that was, who cares? "Neverwhere" proves that the art of telling a tale has not been lost; buried under a rubble of rhetoric maybe, but not lost. I consider this to be as credible of a form of literature as any that has been written. To those who consider it an airy form of escapism: think again and come up with a more cogent response. It simply isn't true, believe me. This is what fantasy so desparately needs to be.
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