Neverwhere, by Neil Gaimon

Location: Ms. Tommaso's Room

Neil Gillert
Matt Highland
Izik Dery
Anne Tommaso


  • Whip: Talk about whether we had a general positive or negative view of the novel and why. Members can elaborate on their opinion if other group members have questions about their comments.
  • Leveled Questions, excluding Factual questions
  • Open Discussion Starters:
      • Compare / Contrast two characters
      • What would you want to ask the author

  • Run through characters, then compare and contrast. Discuss specific characters' purpose and meaning within the world of the novel and as a plot device
  • Whip: What made aspect of this book made it a unique read for you?
  • Ten Words or Less (See discussion resources)

Izik Dery
Creative Writing Piece
Discussion about book between readers with opposing points of view at a book store.

Jim, having just finished “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman, engages in conversation with the book-store employee behind the counter:
“You see this book? Spare yourself the pain and don’t bother with it”

“Don’t bother with it?” remarked the employee.

“Why, that book was one of my favorites. The uncanny literalism of names and places such as “Door” and “Angel Station” is quite enjoyable, and the room for individual creativity within the book’s setting and characters is wonderful.”

“Individual creativity? What’s a book if I have to try and piece together a story from the lack of character development that Gaiman put into the book in the first place?”

“Lack of character development? Geed heavens, you don’t know how to read, now do you?

“Why of course I know how to read, it’s Gaiman that doesn’t know how to write. Neverwhere is riddled with loose strings. From the origins of Croup and Vandemar, the purpose of the Shadows, and everything in between, a myriad of questions are left unanswered. To top it all off, you’re left questioning the entire existence of everything you’ve just read at the end of the book; just another cheap trick used by authors to compensate for their lack of ability.”

“Okay, just stop whining and listen for a moment. Books are much more than just clumps of words put onto a page meant to pull a reader from the first page to the last; they’re works of art. Neil Gaiman didn’t exclude particular bits of information, or leave you contemplative at the end of the story out of laziness or spite, but in an effort to generate thought and create intellectual conversation. If you had learned that Croup and Vandemar were from “x” setting, and created with “y” purpose, then there would be nothing to talk about, and the story might end up reading more like a high school textbook. However, through omission of information, Gaiman creates questions which prompt readers to create their own unique answers as they read, drastically changing the experience from one reader to the next, based on their own thought process. Additionally, the controversial ending is an unbelievably rich topic for discussion, as how you view it almost entirely depends on how you defined the people, places, and meanings of the events throughout the story.”

“But... that still doesn’t justify the fact that the disappearance of Anesthesia on Night’s Bridge wasn’t explained! What do you have to say to that, eh?”

“What do you think happened?”

“Well I... I don’t know what happened. No one told me.”

“Then I think we’ve found our problem.”

Matt Highland
Mrs. Walsh
Honors Junior English: SummerREAD Creative Piece
13 September 2011
Neverwhere Alternate Ending
Richard went to the bar with Gary and the others. He was introduced to a girl from Computer Services who had come to the bar. She was a nice young girl who seemed very interested in him. They talked for most of the night, and he soon became very interested in her, with the aid of a few pints. She asked him to come home with her, an offer which he accepted. On the taxi ride to her flat, she seemed to sober up and changed her tone: “I know who you are, Richard,” she said sternly.
“And who am I?” he joked, not noticing her tone.
“You’re one of us. From London Below.” For a minute he thought the beer was clouding his thoughts. “What was that?” he replied.
“I am like you,” she answered, “part of me is above, but part of me will always remain below. Just like you. I can see it in your eyes.” Richard sat back, shocked. Until he had heard this, he was having serious thoughts about returning Below. Now, he had found his very own piece of his adventures in the world above. That explained why the girl seemed so distant from his other coworkers, but so connected with him. “And what does that mean for us?” he inquired.
“We can live in both worlds, and travel between the two.” This revelation shocked Richard. He could be a member of both worlds, the safety of London Above, with the adventures and wonder of London Below. And he knew that this was not just luck, finding another who could go between. It was fate.

Neil Gillert 9-13-2011
Rewrite an episode or scene from another character's or narrator's point of view.

Mr. Croup had thought long and hard in the fleeting time he had, and decided that Islington was not going to fulfill his side of the bargain. With lightning reflexes Mr. Croup grabbed Islington by the back of the neck, and dragged Islington’s face right next to his own.
“Now now, boss, we had a deal didn’t we?” Said Mr. Croup. Islington jerked and struggle to free himself from the cage that was Mr. Croups hand, “You will get your reward Croup, once I enter the doorway!” said Islington, “Not good enough.” responded Mr. Croup as he reached to his belt in one quick motion, grabbed his exceedingly sharp knife and slit Islington’s throat. Blood pored out of his open wound, but not any kind of blood Mr. Croup or Vandemar had seen before. It was almost a sludge that was flowing out of Islington’s neck.
Mr. Croup looked at Mr. Vandemar with an intrigued look and said “Looks like he was no angel at all” with a grin of foul proportions. Now that Croup had killed the angel, the doorway was wide open. Mr. Croup turned to Mr. Vandemar “I quite liked killing that Angel,” said Mr. Croup “Care to join me?” as he turned his head back to the door. Mr. Vandemar hurried up beside him and they then walked into the doorway shoulder to shoulder.
When they first stepped into the doorway they both immediately jerked their feet right back out. Mr. Croup looked at his foot and then at Mr. Vandemars, both were quickly becoming stone. Mr. Croup had discussed how this fateful day might happen with Mr. Vandemar, but they had never thought it would of happened like this. they both thought they would die fighting the un-relenting foe, the one beast to best them both. They had lived for thousands of years, seen everything that could be seen, killed things that could not be killed. But this... would be how they die.
Mr. Croup looked at Mr. Vandemar and Mr. Vandemar looked back at Mr. Croup, they both then looked up and howled, as stone silenced them both forever.