My Metro book (small enough to fit in a bag, can be read with one hand while straphanging) last week was Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, a story about average Richard Mayhew who “falls through the cracks” and finds himself in London Below, or the Underground. Here Earl’s Court really has an earl, Shepherd’s Bush has shepherds (though not the kind you’d want to meet), and Blackfriars is an underground monastery.
Neverwhere was Gaiman’s first novel and certainly reads like one: the bad guys are a little too bad, the good guys a little too good, the ending a little too much like an ending. The gimmick, which you’d think would get tired, stays fresh throughout–there are enough Tube stations to keep Gaiman going for a while. And the writing, while not exactly polished, displays an exuberance too–something I can’t quite put my finger on, but which I suspect has to do with a lot of good, solid Anglo-Saxon words and a prohibition against taking writing too seriously.