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Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams
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Watership Down: A Novel (original 1972; edition 2005)

by Richard Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,344266119 (4.23)3 / 568
Member:ifjuly
Title:Watership Down: A Novel
Authors:Richard Adams
Info:
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:children's literature

Work details

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

1970s (2)
Unread books (1,028)
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(see all 31 recommendations)

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English (255)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (266)
Showing 1-5 of 255 (next | show all)
(7.4)
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
Watership Down is a perfect example of how novels of anthropomorphic animals condenses and redefines time-period social commentary for future generations to experience and discover through the natural course of a rabbit's ethology and human anthropology. Readers discover the different defining levels of culture through the Warren (folklore, mythology, language, ect.) and the objective but destructive course and perilous consequences of mans' cultivation of nature by creating a more human approach to the rabbits' journey in to find another homestead after the Warren is destroyed by farmers. Though this is merely but one dimension in which Adams creates an entertaining and thrilling story but, at the same time, discusses the various dynamics of human nature that are natural in a societal state such as personal freedom, tyrannical and oppressive social institutions, and gender assignments according to social standards. ( )
1 vote rwagner2 | Oct 14, 2014 |
READ IN ENGLISH

This was a television series when I was a kid, you'll know it - Bright Eyes. I never understood the story, but I came across this book and wanted to read it, so hopefully I could learn what the story had been about in the first place. (OK, the lovely rabbit on the cover did help a little in my decision making process).

It was a completely different story from what I expected. A bunch of rabbits set of to create a new colony (that is probably not the right word - please do forgive me) of rabbits, and we follow them as they try to create this.

But, oh, they aren't very clever; for they simply 'forget' to take any female rabbits with them. It's clear they didn't pay attention in Biology classes.

Then, obviously they need to find some female rabbits, and they just go and steal them. I always wondered why the Evil rabbits in the series were hunting them, but it makes more sense now.

A book all about rabbits may sound boring, but believe me, it isn't. There's a lot of suspense and it is interesting from start to end. I would recommend it! ( )
  Floratina | Sep 25, 2014 |
The Basics

Hazel and Fiver’s current home is soon to be demolished, but the way in which they know this involves Fiver’s psychic powers, so it’s kind of hard for them to get anyone to listen to them. They gather what few compatriots will follow and set out for a safer home, and many adventures ensue that threaten their very lives. Oh yeah, and they’re all rabbits.

My Thoughts

Most everyone has heard about this book. They’ve heard the phrase, “it’s like Lord of the Rings with rabbits!” And there has been dubious eyebrow raising and scoffing laughter, I can well imagine. I wheedled about it myself.

Well, stop it. Stop that judgmental crap right now and go read this book. Rabbits or no, these are some of the richest, most well-written characters to grace literature. This book is beautifully paced and absolutely worthy of the cliche “page turner”. It’s a fantasy world as fascinating as any I’ve read and steeped in its own mythology and legends with its own language. If you love fantasy, this book is for you. If you’re an animal lover, this book is for you. If you love literature and classics, this book is for you. I can’t think of anyone who should pass this up.

Adams does something noteworthy here. He makes rabbits relatable and human. Yet he also makes them just alien enough that it never occurs to you to picture them as anything but rabbits. He balances these two in such a way that neither overwhelms the other. Their world is tangible, and as a reader, you won’t question it. But it’s not our world, and you’ll feel that, too, and want to learn more. Out of all the fantasy races I’ve seen over time, Adams manages to make rabbits one of the most well-thought-out of the bunch.

My last thought is to parents of small children. Stop giving your kids this book. Unless they’re very mature kids, which some are, granted. It’s actually kind of dark and scary and violent. Just because the protagonists are rabbits doesn’t mean it’s something sweet and fuzzy. Rabbits are prey to pretty much every, other animal, and this book deals with that in spades. You read it. You’d like it. But don’t give it to your kids.

Final Rating

5/5 ( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
I found myself pleasantly surprised by this classic. I am not sure what I expected, but when I heard it was a rabbit version of the Aeneid... you can be sure I had both eyebrows lifted.

And after reading the book, I must say, I do agree with that description of a rabbit-like Aeneid. It has the whole Greek/Roman epic poem or story feel to it with the warriors, the slightly-mad visionary, the quest, the main protagonist's hubris, etc.

I think my favorite part of this was the incorporation of legends. Whenever Dandelion told a story about El-ahrairah, it always managed to explore the rabbits' ideology, their treasured qualities, and also fit into what would happen next in the story.

I don't think I was ever bored reading this book, despite it being over 400 pages. Sure, some arcs of the book were a little less interesting (human ex machina with the cat part and the hatch rabbits), but following Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig around was fascinating.

It is like learning a new language and a new world within the one we know right now. If you don't know what silflay and Owslaw is after, you haven't been reading very closely.

I thought the scenes with Strawberry were particularly clever. It felt almost human and creepy and utterly perfect - because it all lies within the boundaries of possibility.

And the ending was just perfect. The hero who goes to become part of the Owslaw of the one who has night stars for ears.

3.5 stars rounded down. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a classic. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 255 (next | show all)
It would seem that in Adam's ardor for wild creatures he has tried too hard to make a case for them instead of allowing them fully to be their own recommendation. I'm grateful for much of what he's done, but I'm not going to look at rabbits differently from now on.
 
Watership Down offers little to build a literary cult upon. On the American-whimsy exchange, one Tolkien hobbit should still be worth a dozen talking rabbits.
added by Shortride | editTime, Melvin Maddocks (Mar 18, 1974)
 
This bunny-rabbit novel not only steers mostly clear of the usual sticky, anthropomorphic pitfalls of your common garden-variety of bunny rabbit story: it is also quite marvelous for a while, and after it stops being marvelous, it settles down to be pretty good- a book you can live with from start to finish.
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baynes, PaulineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paolini, Pier FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parkins, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tucker, NicholasAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Master Rabbit I saw
Walter de la Mare
Dedication
To Juliet and Rosamond, remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon
First words
The primroses were over.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Publisher series
Original language
Book description
AR 6.2, Pts 25.0

Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren – he felt sure of it. So did his brother Hazel, for Fiver’s sixth sense was never wrong. They had to leave immediately, and they had to persuade the other rabbits to join them. And so begins a long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home. Fiver’s vision finally leads them to Watership Down, but here they face their most difficult challenge of all.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380002930, Mass Market Paperback)

Watership Down has been a staple of high-school English classes for years. Despite the fact that it's often a hard sell at first (what teenager wouldn't cringe at the thought of 400-plus pages of talking rabbits?), Richard Adams's bunny-centric epic rarely fails to win the love and respect of anyone who reads it, regardless of age. Like most great novels, Watership Down is a rich story that can be read (and reread) on many different levels. The book is often praised as an allegory, with its analogs between human and rabbit culture (a fact sometimes used to goad skeptical teens, who resent the challenge that they won't "get" it, into reading it), but it's equally praiseworthy as just a corking good adventure.

The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese). As much about freedom, ethics, and human nature as it is about a bunch of bunnies looking for a warm hidey-hole and some mates, Watership Down will continue to make the transition from classroom desk to bedside table for many generations to come. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:29 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Chronicles the adventures of a group of rabbits searching for a safe place to establish a new warren where they can live in peace.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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Editions: 0241953235, 0141341939

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