Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Chapter 6 - Chapter 12
Stainless Steel Droppings.
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?
I don't blame him one bit! If I were in his shoes, I'm sure I'd be chanting the same thing. Heck, it worked for Dorothy, right? I admit some readers are going to think Richard is being rather wimpy the way he just sits there in the tunnel, chanting that he wants to go home, crying and pretty much giving up without a fight, but let's cut the guy a little slack. He's never really been the fighter-type guy before. In fact, standing his ground to Jessica about helping Door when they found her lying on the sidewalk might have been the first time he really stood up for someone--including himself! Now his world is completely different. He's already been erased from London Above and London Below shouldn't be real, but it is. Everything about it is completely unknown to him and it's frightening as heck. The important thing is that he didn't just give up. He forged on and decided to find a way back to his world Above. Granted, Door came back and suggested he come with them, but still. He went. And the rest, as they say, is history. So let's show a little compassion to Richard during his moment of despair and pat him on the back for running for his life instead of waiting for Croup and Vandemar to catch and kill him for fun, eh? ;)
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 is definitely one of the most mysterious characters in Neverwhere. My confidence in his trustworthiness was still tested in this section of reading. I still wanted to trust him and his intentions with helping Door on her quest to find out who killed her family and why, but he doesn't seem to be very well liked by a lot of folks in London Below. He's banned from the Earl's Court! And when he went to Croup and Vandemar's Liar?! I thought for sure he was the one who betrayed Door! I admit I was relieved to discover otherwise in the next chapter. And once Croup and Vandemar captured and tortured him, I realized he wasn't on their side. Then I felt awful for him.
3. How did you feel about the Ordeal of the Key?
Oh, the Ordeal of the Key. That was like a really bad trip [the psychedelic crisis type]. Of course, I was glad that Richard survived it and of course, I expected him to since he IS the protagonist, but overall, I didn't find the experience particularly memorable or insightful. But he was brave and kind and true, so he deserved the key. I liked the that the bead in his pocket from Anaesthesia's broken necklace is what helped Richard remember what he was doing there and why. I found it pleasingly sentimental, and also a testament to the power and importance of being a compassionate person--perhaps the very reason why he survived the Ordeal of the Key in the first place. I also appreciated how Richard's acquisition of the key perhaps made Door and Hunter admire and respect Richard more.
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 like the way Richard "writes" in his mental diary. It's his own personal way of dealing with this misadventure that's become of his life. I think it helps keep him grounded.
5. Any other things/ideas that you want to talk about from this section of the book?
I found that I didn't dislike Jessica as much when Richard crossed paths with her in the British Museum scenes as I did when she refused to help Door and broke up with Richard because of it. I rather felt sorry for her. Maybe she seemed a bit lost and lonely without Richard in her life, which made me think perhaps she'll learn to be more appreciative of a good thing when she's got it in the future.
Tune in next Monday [June 4] for the exciting conclusion when the group discusses the final chapters of Neverwhere!