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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
16,689337106 (4.22)3 / 654
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)

Recently added bykjgormley, arena555, BradLacey, beg51, almoadhadi, private library, SageMama, bertje58, markbench
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1970s (2)
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English (317)  Finnish (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (330)
Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
I read this when I was 13, and for many reads thereafter. One great experience was listening to it as a book on tape - it made the story so much more real.

This is a great book for children, adults, and everyone in between. Its strength is that it gives a perspective on life that we often don't contemplate: how do humans influence the lives of non-human beings around them?

The descriptions of the different warrens, the strength of will of the rabbits who set off on their journey, and their realization that they still have to do a little more to make their new home thrive are all relevant to the story and make it much more than just a simple tale.

I've always meant to look up the quotes that Adams references at the beginning of each chapter! ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |

“My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.”

Group read with the pantless, crunchless ones.

No, this wasn't a book I read and loved as a child. I knew little about it until the past few years when it popped up on classics lists and random discussions. I found out it was about rabbits (I love bunnies in general), and that this was some kind of allegory on life. Since I enjoyed [b:Animal Farm|7613|Animal Farm|George Orwell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1424037542s/7613.jpg|2207778] so much, I sought to give this book a try.

Fiver is basically a psychic bun - he gets instincts and revelations on impending disasters and saving graces, so he convinces some of the other warren bunnies to follow his lead and leave the safe haven they've always known. Throughout the the book they risk tail and life to escape peril, run into other warrens that are more than they seem, politically outmaneuver viciousness, and keep seeking the dream worth seeking.

As a whole, it's a great book. The story is focused on life, different allegories for things that affect people as we experience them through bunny notions. Risks and betrayals, bravery and adventures. The group starts out small but starts to grow, yet the mains stay the same through: Fiver, who I figured at first to be the main but kind of blends into the background later; Hazel, a leading rabbit who has loyalty and the best for the other rabbits in mind; Bunwat, a brave rabbit who has a tuft on the top of his head like my housebunny, Kirby; other random rabbits who honestly kind of blend together and pop up when extra bodies are needed.

There's tension when some of the rabbits are at risk, and the better parts of the book are when they are exploring new warrens and figuring out what's wrong with the falsely happy worlds. It was a little dystopian, cult feel.

Unfortunately, while the writer waves a beautiful pen and crafts stunning words and phrasing, he spends too long lingering over the description of fields, feeding, and drifting. The book could have been better had it been shorter, with all the unneeded baggage left behind. Sure, rabbits place heavy importance on grazing, fields, warrens, digging, and all that...but it gets old after awhile to keep reading the same repetitious scenes.

It's a worthy classic to read, and the ending is especially peaceful and heartwarming. I didn't get into the stories that would take a chapter a piece about their worship and deity, but it came fully across in the final chapter to tie into something very relevant.

It has flaws over being slow and overly descriptive, and sadly the bunnies personalities blend together to where they don't really stand out from each other (other than a particularly ferocious foe who is like a super rabbit villain). While slower scenes aren't riveting, the emphasis on a rabbits sedate habits gives the story credibility. Not perfect but certainly worthy of its classic status.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Epic warrior & political story. This subject matter/ genre never was and never will be my cup-of-tea. Nonetheless, I was captivated and impressed by this story - and someday I do want to treat myself and read this again.
----------------------------------

Read for Children's Books Jan. 2016
Here's much of what I said there:

(Steve suggested that Fiver be Hazel's sister, and that Bigwig's mate be an Amazonian type who insisted on coming with...) It would have been definitely an allegorical tale then, Steve, and not a story about rabbits. Adams wanted to be as true as possible to lapine culture, and does only kindle and dig, according to Adams' source & understandings.

Otoh, these rabbits are obviously significantly more sentient than real ones, and so liberties are taken.

It's clearly a story about beings that are more directly concerned with survival, beings whose main 'technological' advancement is storytelling, a development of a mythology. In that way it reminded me very much of Bambi: A Life in the Woods (Salten's, not Disney's), another serious book that reminds us that wildlife is wild, and has dignity, and is worthy of respect... is not "cute."

And it also reminded me of The Kin by Peter Dickinson. In that book those who quest are young humans, just beginning to have inspirations and to create technology. That novel also has stories from a mythology intermixed with the narrative of the humans' struggle for survival. (And it's a book I highly recommend.)

And thinking of epic quests makes me wonder if a comparison can't be made between this and the books by Tolkien. At least, both invent a rich world, with language, customs, traditions..... " ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Marvellous ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Review: Watership Down by Richard Adams.

What better time it is to read a book about rabbits during the Easter Holiday. It’s a great book and masterly well developed with plenty of persona quality bunnies to go around. I found the story enjoyable by taking it for what it was and not trying to read deep meanings to every aspect issue baring to an adult audience as; adult nature, rabbit miscarriages, battles of conflict, sexual connotations, death and dying because it was so much better reading the story as the real life in a village community of every day life of rabbits. It was a great story of many rabbits with their own character trait living with adventure, failure, success, self-discovery, and their long journey to survive as we do day in and day out. Adams makes the whole story realistic by introducing the setting in the English countryside, with great descriptions of the surroundings as well as the rabbits and their life-style. It’s told in a rabbits point of view and Adams even gives them their own language with words, motions, posture, behavior, emotions and tales of how Frith, the Son of God and a folk hero El-Arairah grants them wonderful beliefs and favors.

The story begins when a group of rabbits decide to leave their home, Sandleford Warren, after Fiver, who has some kind of physic feeling, and telling the group that danger is on the rise. Not all the rabbits believe him so they stay behind with their leader Owsla. Fiver’s brother Hazel and a few other rabbits believed his prophecy and set out on their journey to find a new home but didn’t know the perils of the outside world beyond their warren. At this point they do not know their destination but they knew what kind of environment they were seeking. Their adventure led them through tough terrain along with a powerful evil leader of another warren, crows, a fox, rivers, a rabbit farm, human predators, and countless other dangers. However, they also befriended a couple of other animals who needed help with injuries they sustained in their adventures. The one they got most attached to was Kehaar, who was a large white and black gull with a broken wing who ended up staying with them for a while even after his wing was mended. He was a strong addition to the story that I won’t forget.

Throughout the story Adams provides the rabbits with history and a culture of their own which keeps the reader embedded deeply in the story and emphasizes surprising solutions that are still the realm of possibility for real rabbits. I liked the way Hazel, Blackberry, worked out there issues by leaping with intuitions and cognitive insight that seem just beyond the reach of their basic simple minds. Adam seems to keep their efforts remarkable then magical. Each of the rabbits that joined Hazel on the journey to find Watership Down to build a new life had different distinctive personalities which enhanced the story to the very last page.

The novel is a pleasure to read. There are so many scenes of adventure, happiness, playing, and some cruelty, and hard times for these amazing rabbits trying to survive in a man’s and animal’s world with some sadness and a lot of triumph. As I read I felt like I was a part of their world…It felt real….
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 317 (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
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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
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 9 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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241953235, 0141341939

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