A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society. (from Goodreads)
Books about bunnies tend to be cute. Watership Down is not cute, but it IS enthralling. I haven’t read it in a while, and I’d forgotten how amazing the world of Richard Adams’ rabbits is. It’s not just learning about how rabbits live their lives; it’s about the mythology and the gradual realization that each rabbit legend is more than a story about a trickster hero getting one up on the bad guys. It’s the history of rabbits turned into legend! Cool!
I really liked that the rabbits weren’t just tiny furry humans. I think that’s what I didn’t really like about the Redwall series— the animals were too human, and so what was the point of them being animals? But the rabbits in Watership Down are properly rabbit-y, different enough from humans to be satisfyingly alien but similar enough that I could still empathize with them and their journey.
It’s a fantastic story about finding a new home, friendship, family, and adventure. Also, rabbits. Also, England! I loved the lush descriptions of the countryside in particular.
Yay rabbits! I definitely need to read the next book, a collection of stories about the Watership rabbits and their offspring/friends/etc.
Read: July 26-28, 2013
Sidenote: is this book meant for kids or for adults? Or both? Because I totally see it as an adult book (maybe older YA?), but it’s on tons of Best Childrens Books Ever lists. It’s pretty violent for a kids book1 and there’s a lot of plot spent on obtaining does for the Watership warren (something kids might not understand the purpose for?). On the other hand…bunnies DO make it a somewhat “safer” book. I mean, if these were all humans for sure it’d be an adult book.2 What do you think?