Saturday, November 1, 2014

Richard Adams, Watership Down

I just finished listening to Watership Down by Richard Adams, and I really enjoyed it. I thought I had read it before when I was about 12, but I remembered nothing, not even the vague deja vu feelings I usually get from books of my distant past, so I think maybe I never did. The writing is fine, the story is interesting, there are some good characters, and it is highly original. The reading, by Ralph Cosham, was excellent. My only complaint was that it wasn't tough enough -- rabbits lead short lives set about with dangers, and I thought more of them should have died. That was the only way in which I thought it was clearly for children rather than adults.

I especially liked the stories the rabbits tell each other, about the great hero El-ahrairah, the Prince with a Thousand Enemies. He is a trickster, and the stories are much like those of B'rer Rabbit and Anansi. But they are original and funny and I thought added a lot to the picture of how the rabbits see their world. In one El-ahrairah tricks a farm dog by offering him the chance to abase himself before the queen of all the dogs -- Dripspittle, her name is -- and the dog begins to wag his tail uncontrollably and say, "Oh, how I will grovel! I will grovel like no dog has ever grovelled before!"

If you have a long car trip coming up, especially one you have to share with children, consider it.

1 comment:

Shadow said...

As you say, original. An amazing, deliciously inventive story I read some years ago. I followed it with Adams' Shardik. He did not strike gold his second time around, and I never read anything else by him.