Veniss Underground

Jeff VanderMeer
Veniss Underground Cover

Veniss Underground


Nicholas vanishes after going to the marketplace to purchase a meerkat from the evil Quin. Soon after his twin sister, Nicola, also disappears. Shadrach, Nicholas' friend and Nicola's former lover, embarks on a quest to find them and his journey takes him into the phantasmagorical underworld where Quin rules.

The execution of the story is bold and experimental; it is told in a unique three-part structure presented in three points of view - first, second, third. A tricky styling for even the most skilled author, yet Vandermeer makes it seem effortless.

Also, the sheer scope of his imagination is mind boggling. He never relies on the conventional or expected but instead pulls this fantastical darkness from his soul and transmorphs it into words. Veniss Underground is a mindtrip of horrifically beautiful madness. The reader is bombarded by weirdness, both in imagery and literary allusion, and the author only just manages to keep it from being too much. The book is both too long and too short, all at the same time.

I would have to say I appreciated Veniss Underground more than I loved it. It's gritty and grotesque and it certainly made me uncomfortable. But is Vandermeer wickedly talented and brazenly off-beat? Absolutely. And for that he earned the 4 Stars I gave this book.