I read this book for the last of my R.I.P books, a fall reading challenge that has been making the rounds of the blogging world. With this review, I have completed my challenge.
From the back of the book:
Richard Mayhew is a plain man with a good heart - and an ordinary life that is changed forever on a day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. From that moment forward he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed - a dark subculture flourishing in abandoned subway stations and sewer tunnels below the city - a world far stranger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known...
The interesting thing about this book is that the Minneapolis Star Tribune says on the back: "A dark contemporary 'Alice in Wonderland'... imaginative, well-crafted [and] highly visual." I never noticed that until after I was about halfway through the book, so when I did see it, I had to stop and think for a moment. I never made the direction comparision myself, but I might have by the end. It really is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. And we all know how much I like fairy tale retellings.
How is it like Alice, people may be wondering. For starters, it takes place below ground. The characters in this underground world have fallen through the cracks in society, much like how Alice fell through the rabbit hole. Who is Alice in this novel can be looked at several ways. If we were going with a same sex character, than Door would be Alice on her adventures through the underground. The only problem with that is Door never lived above ground, her life has always taken place in the underground. That means, that the most likely character to be "Alice" in this tale is Richard Mayhew. He is used to a life above ground, but when he saves Door, that is in essence him falling from the above world to the underground one.
There are also elements from Alice of Wonderland found in this tale. Alice, in her tale, meets lots of crazy critters in her adventures through Wonderland. Richard does the same. At first he, like Alice, questions what he sees in front of him, but by the end of the novel he is just learning to accept whatever comes along. There are also many doors in the novel, as Alice battles with in the beginning of Alice in Wonderland. It is a very interesting fantasy novel, and I must admit, I like it better than Lewis Carroll's original tale. Alice annoys me in that novel.
I must admit, I am gaining a strong liking for Gaiman. I own all of his novels, now, so I will be sure to post on the three I haven't read yet in the next few months.