Richard Mayhew moved to London as a young adult and after years, finds himself working a nine-to-five job, doing what his girlfriend tells him and that’s that. Then he comes across a young girl (or was she young? I read her as a teenager, though this makes things later in the novel quite creepy) who needs help. However, after assisting her, he finds that he’s now stuck in an alternative, dangerous version of London that exists beneath the surface. His mission is to find a way to return to his own life.
I’ve become a fan of Gaiman late in the day, and I certainly find I am far more drawn to his myth based books, such as Norse Mythology and American Gods, over his creepy otherworld books. They are similar and I kind of love the concepts of layered worlds, a bit like alternative timelines and time travel stories. However, this isn’t my fave. I struggled to get into the world, and I found it quite difficult to connect to the characters. I also find that in several books, Gaiman has a male protagonist who is sleepwalking through life and being pushed around, dominating woman who is supposed to be their lover and partner, but seems to be in it for… what? And who is conveniently removed from the protagonist’s story in a way that seems deserving for them, often with little effort of the man. I guess if it was just once, I could see it as plot, but when it occurs more often, it does make me question the role of women in Gaiman’s writing. I’ll certainly keep reading his books, but his depiction of female characters is something I know I’ll be watching.