Watership Down by Richard Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A classic from the 70’s which I had never read; I only picked it up out of a sense of duty, really. At the beginning I did not bargain much for an interest in rabbits. I just don’t care much about rabbits, but in this yarn I was thoroughly engrossed. It is a warm and wonderful tale, which unfolds so softly that the suspense is unexpected and that much more effective.
The author, Richard Adams, has asserted that it is just a story he made up for his kids and that it is not an allegory – it was not intended to represent countries, politics, or any broader issues. However, it was hard not to read into some of the situations and identify the symbolic culprits. For example, one rabbit’s conversation about a particularly authoritarian warren: “In that warren a rabbit can’t call his life his own, and in return you have safety, if it is worth having at all for the price you pay.”
Art Garfunkel’s song, “Bright Eyes” is about Hazel, the fearless leader of this pilgrim rabbit group. I have always loved that song – its meaning has deepened exponentially now that I’ve finally read the book.
And rabbits are infinitely more interesting as well!
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