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Watership Down by Richard Adams
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Watership Down (original 1972; edition 2012)

by Richard Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,169339100 (4.22)3 / 681
Member:andreablythe
Title:Watership Down
Authors:Richard Adams
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (2012), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:young adult, allegory, read in 2012, 12 in 12 Challenge, library, audiobook, adventure, mythology

Work details

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

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1970s (1)
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English (324)  Finnish (4)  Italian (4)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All (338)
Showing 1-5 of 324 (next | show all)
A novel that is just as magical as it is thrilling, Watership Down accomplishes the astonishing feat of bringing out the kid in the adults while making kids feel like grown-ups by not pulling back on its still whimsical material. ( )
  Birdo82 | Jan 15, 2017 |
I read this book a very long time ago, but i remember it really changing my perspective on books. It is very much a kids book but at the time i thought if it as very adult. I don't remember much of the plot, but the ending was definitely sad and it somehow made something so serious out of such a simple and innocent topic. ( )
  raffizle | Jan 10, 2017 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2721814.html

I must have first read Watership Down when I was about nine, and then saw the notorious film when it came out a couple of years later. I was captivated then, and I am captivated now, four decades on. It's a great epic on a small scale, with Hazel leading a breakaway faction from a doomed warren, escaping many enemies, and then winning a conflict with the Efrafran rabbits led by the fearsome General Woundwort, to earn a just retirement. There is a lot of back-story mythology as well, centring around the trickster rabbit king and hero, El-Ahrairah. It has some beautiful descriptive passages:

The sun, risen behind the copse, threw long shadows from the trees southwestward across the field. The wet grass glittered and nearby a nut tree sparkled iridescent, winking and gleaming as its branches moved in the light wind. The brook was swollen and Hazel’s ears could distinguish the deeper, smoother sound, changed since the day before. Between the copse and the brook, the slope was covered with pale lilac lady’s-smocks, each standing separately in the grass, a frail stalk of bloom above a spread of cressy leaves. The breeze dropped and the little valley lay completely still, held in long beams of light and enclosed on either side by the lines of the woods. Upon this clear stillness, like feathers on the surface of a pool, fell the calling of a cuckoo.

Of course, now that I am older I'm more sensitive to the background of the story, which reflects Adams' wartime experience (especially Operation Market Garden) in the same way that Tolkien's work reflects the earlier war. As a child, I found chapter 31, The Story of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé, very very creepy indeed; as an adult, I was immensely moved by the ending in which the war veterans return to the warren they have saved, to find that their sacrifice has simply been forgotten by the next generation. There are some off-notes (the does come into the story rather late; there is a racist remark about Irish people; what is up with the sculptures and poetry in Cowslip's warren?) but in general it has kept its charm. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Dec 11, 2016 |
I've heard that one of my favorite stories, The Hobbitt, was originally written by J. R. R. Tolkien for his children - it wasn't even meant for publication. If not for the prodding of his friend, C. S. Lewis, it might never have been published. And in the introduction to Watership Down, Richard Adams explains that it was borne out of a request by his daughters for a story on a long car ride - not just any story, but a story made up just for them. And luckily for us, they encouraged their father to finish the story and have it published.

Watership Down (which is a very dramatic-sounding title) starts when Fiver has a foreboding of danger for the warren. His prophecies, however, are rejected by the chief rabbit, and he and his friend Hazel convince a few others to leave the warren in search of a place to start a new one. But there are a great many dangers out in the world: foxes and wolves, weasels and stoats, and not least of all man and his machines. That's right, this is a story about rabbits. No, they're not rabbits who wear little mittens and coats with buttons - they're real rabbits who forage in the grass and occasionally raid gardens. But they also have their own language and legends and mythology, and we're treated to plenty of that in this captivating story as we follow Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Silver, Dandelion, Pipkin and the others on their odyssey.

This book is often called an allegory, although Mr. Adams has insisted it was never meant as such and was simply "a story I told to my little girls." But there certainly seem to be elements of symbolism. The legends of El-ahrairah, a type of Brer Rabbit, are told by the rabbits with almost religious reverence. The Black Rabbit of Inlé, another figure from their legends, might be compared to the Devil, and General Woundwort made me think of Joseph Stalin, ruling with an iron fist - errr, paw, I mean. And Fiver certainly seems to have a gift of prophecy, but the comparisons are only conjecture on my part and the legends add color and texture to a wonderful story.

I'll admit I was hesitant to read this - a "classic" about bunnies? And it's not even very old, having been published originally in 1972. But I think it's certainly deserving of the attention it's received ever since and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's some violence and it can be occasionally frightening or sad, but I loved it and found myself genuinely concerned for Hazel and Fiver and Bigwig and their group. I listened to the audio book read by Ralph Cosham (and my kids would cast questioning looks my way: "A story about rabbits, Dad? Really?!?") who does an excellent job. ( )
  J.Green | Nov 23, 2016 |
I was given this book as a reading assignment in seventh grade. Fell in love with it then and have reread it so many times over the last 27 years. It never gets old. A timeless classic. ( )
  Valkyrie47 | Nov 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 324 (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 (46 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
Blurbers
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.
FI:"Viikka ja Vatukka, Voikukka ja Mansikka, Pähkinä ja Hopea ja muut kanit, Ruohometsän koko unohtumaton kansa tässä elokuvassa, joka on valloittanut maailman. Kertomus pikkukanien uhkraohkeasta pakomatkasta ihmisten jaloista kohti uutta, turvallista kotiseutua - on tarina kaikenikäisille. Jännittävä, liikuttava ja tiemastuttava koko perheen elokuva, jonka suosiosta kertovat myös monet suuret kansainväliset palkinnot."
Haiku summary
Rabbits find a home.
They find others on the way
and fight to stay safe.
(marcusbrutus)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:05 -0400)

(see all 10 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 18 descriptions

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241953235, 0141341939

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