animatorbeneath words: homedesigner



500 words or less. Read the most recent review here or visit the archive for more.

by Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew’s life is forever changed by a simple act of kindness. He is lost to the world he has known because he stops to aid a injured young woman named Door. She is a member of an invisible underclass, residents of London Below, a netherworld stuck somewhere between the past and a parallel dimension. This London seems to rise from the collective dreams of all who have walked its foggy streets. Yet, it remains always at the periphery of conventional reality, a tide pool for those discarded or forgotten.

            Without realizing it, Mayhew abandons his place in London society. His fiancé fails to recognize him, his job seems never to have existed, his flat is rented out and his possessions carted away. Mayhew searches desperately for Door, his one contact is this strange and often terrifying world. But Door is the target of two relentless killers, spirits who have walked the worlds from the dawn of time. Door and her compatriots, are on a quest to find a hidden key for an angel named Islington. For good or ill, their ultimate success rests in Mayhew’s hands.

Neil Gaiman asks his reader for a simple act of trust, not kindness. A simple turn of the page will draw the reader into London Below. Gaiman’s double world is at once a potent commentary on the worlds of wealth and poverty in which we are mired, and a powerful allegory suggesting ways to build bridges to span the gaps between them. Door is aptly named for she possesses the power to connect the disparate and often fractious sections of London underground. A door is an opportunity for communication, contact. But one must have the courage to open it and walk through. Like Mayhew, the reader may wish to linger down in the mysterious and ever-changing London Below. For Mayhew, the choice is absolute and irrevocable. For us, the door is always open.

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