My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Opening Sentence: It was beautiful.
How the Marquis Got His Coat Back. Already knowing what the story is about and how it ends, Neil Gaiman manages to prove that it is all about the journey indeed.
The Marquis de Carabas has just recovered from an unfortunate case of death, something told right off the bat because it has nothing to do with the tale at hand, and is on a quest to get back his coat.
Not knowing how to pronounce Marquis de Carabas is a mere technicality because between you me and the lamp post, neither does he
He was never sure, not then and not later, how you pronounced Marquis de Carabas. Some days he said it one way, some days the other.
But the magnificence of the coat can be downplayed not in the least
It had thirty pockets, seven of which were obvious, nineteen of which were hidden, and four of which were more or less impossible to find – even, on occasion, for the Marquis himself.
In addition to it’s unusual pockets, it had magnificent sleeves, an imposing collar, and a slit up the back. It was made of some kind of leather, it was the color of a wet street at midnight, and, more important than any of these things, it had style.
I love how vividly I could picture a coat the color of a wet street at midnight for the rest of the story.
Not having read Neverwhere yet, I was a first timer in London Below and newly introduced to the elegant, well spoken and calculatingly clever Marquis, as well as the Sewer People, the Mushroom People and Shepherd’s Bush, which I felt was a clever commentary on modern lifestyle.
As with every other Neil Gaiman book I read, I believe everything he’s telling me, from an Elephant man to sheep-dog men, I am on board. One of the things I enjoy most about his writing is how easily he awakens the imagination. This story like all his others did not disappoint. I think I will remember it every time I happen to see a wet street at midnight.
1. There were just as definite downsides to having been dead, or at least, to having been recently dead, and missing his coat was the worst of them. (pg.4)
2. The paths of London Below are not the paths of London Above: they rely to no little extent on things like belief and opinion and tradition as much as they rely upon the realities of maps. (p.16)
3. Two heads were only better than one if the other head kept its mouth shut and did not start telling him things he already knew. (p.18)
4. ‘You even scream sarcastically,’ said the Elephant. (p.23)
5. The Marquis de Carabas always had a plan, and he always had a fallback plan; and beneath these plans he always had a real plan, one that he would not even let himself know about, for when the original plan and the fallback plan had both gone south. (p.32)
6. He made a small, courtly bow to the Elephant. and the Marquis’s coat, his glorious coat, caught the bow, and amplified it, made it perfect, and made it the kind of bow that only the Marquis de Carabas could ever possibly make. (p.54)