Carl posted his second round of questions for the Neverwhere readalong this week and between work and getting ready for vacation, I haven’t had time to look at them until now!
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?
First, I can’t say I blame him. If I was confronted with the things Richard saw, I would be crying “I want to go home” too! However, as I was reading, I just wanted him to suck it up. In hindsight, I feel like Gaiman was trying to show what an “everyman” would do in such a situation. When left alone in the sewers of London, or London Below, in such a hopeless situation, yes, you ARE going to sit down and cry and wait to die. That’s just the way it is. But with a little courage, a little help, and some spirit, you WILL come out alive. Maybe.
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?
The Marquis. What a mystery. It’s hard to tell whose side he’s on, if he’s even on anyone’s side. I couldn’t help thinking of him as the Rabbit, because he had a pocket watch. He’s like that bad boy your mama always warned you about.
3. How did you feel about the Ordeal of the Key?
Completely bat-shit creepy crazy. In a very awesome way. I liked the way Gaiman wrote it. I mean, he CLEARLY know what was going on, but we were there with Richard, having NO IDEA what was happening. I loved the way it unfolded, it really upped the creep factor. I’m also pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it out of there. It really showed something about Richard’s character, it really changed him.
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.
I loved visiting the Earl’s court. He reminded me of the Queen of Hearts. I could totally see him shooting “Off With His Head!” at the Marquis. I loved all the moments with Marquis, except, of course, his, uh, death. And I loved the moments on top of the city with Old Bailey.
5. Any other things/ideas that you want to talk about from this section of the book?
I saw Neverwhere as both a road trip novel and a coming-of-age novel. Richard, despite is age, job, fiance, etc, hasn’t really grown up until he undertakes this quest to help Door. He’s such a child. He has never known fear, hunger, or worry.
I’m also curious as to why Richard could see Door when Jessica could not. Was it that child-like quality he still had, it was easier for him to believe a woman just stepped through a door that “wasn’t” there? Was it his innocence? I like to think it was.