Watership Down

Watership Down

4.05 (293,853 ratings on Goodreads)
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Description

"Watership Down" is stunning - a compulsive read. The story is a picaresque saga about a motley band of rabbits who desert their ancient warren when the gentle 'fiver' predicts imminent destruction of all who remain. Led by Fiver's intelligent brother Hazel, the refugees set out on an epic search fro a new home.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 34mm | 340.19g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • maps
  • 0140039589
  • 9780140039580
  • 120,808

Review Text

The fantasy genre involving animals or imaginary beings whose adventures parallel, intersect or explore the human dilemma is dominated by its giants - Grahame, Orwell, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis - whether routed to a juvenile or adult readership. This British tale (with impressive reviews over there) about a pioneer group of wild rabbits is a modest if sustained entry; Adams never catches up with his betters in either character or tone. His rabbits reenact the rousing Exodus story/myth as the prophet Fiver senses disaster about to strike the home warren. (A signpost in human language announces a "development" of the field - the remaining rabbits will be subsequently gassed.) Led by Hazel, more of a William Bradford than a Moses, the group eventually reaches the promised land, Watership Down. But only after racking hardships, narrow escapes and a bizarre sojourn at a sinister warren of welcoming fat rabbits who withhold their dreadful secret of inevitable execution. The major battles, however, are fought against the dictator rabbit General Woundwort and his secret police. Right and democracy finally triumph through supreme strategy and mighty sacrifice - by the few to whom the many will owe so much. Adams' rabbits are fairly simple beings - no lolling over picnic baskets or complex political maneuvers - but there are appealing and even moving touches: inventive rabbit/folk stories of that arch-imp, the demi-god El-ahrairah (herein the mystic moments), poetry with echoes from Grahame, a gull with a French-Canadian accent, a mouse chittering in organ-grinder Italian, and anagram titles from rabbit law and tradition. Adams does manage to nudge the reader down the rabbit hole to accept his serious purpose - but one finds the company nobly dull and the New Jerusalem not half so attractive as the flying fur of deadly combat. Very special, but who knows - it might just hippity hop off to Jonathan Livingston's marsh land. It's been that kind of year. (Heavy promotion.) (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Richard Adams

Richard Adams grew up in Berkshire, the son of a country doctor. After an education at Oxford, he spent six years in the army and then went into the Civil Service. He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters and they insisted he publish it as a book. It quickly became a huge success with both children and adults, and won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal in 1972. Richard Adams has written many novels and short stories, including Shardik and The Plague Dogs. He now lives in Hampshire with his wife and enjoys a wide variety of hobbies including walking in the countryside and English literature.show more
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