Tales from Watership Down by Richard Adams

in lieu of a cover shot, since mine is a plain hardback missing its dust jacket, I give you one of the fine illustrations from within.

As I noted in my book beginning post last week, I am taking this one out of order, since I have not yet read Watership Down. That original is a well-regarded fable or heroic tale about a group of rabbits overcoming odds to start a new life; these Tales are a late sequel (published more than 20 years after the original), and come in the form of a collection of short stories. They include the fables that the rabbits of Watership Down live with (their own cultural mythology, if you will) as well as stories involving the rabbits of the present day. They are sweet and curious; Adams includes a lapine glossary and gives these anthropomorphized bunnies their own societal norms and shared history. Some of these tales resembled some of the other great heroic myths in our own culture’s tradition; I thought of the ancient Greeks, for instance, because there is some question of god’s (or gods’) interference in the lives of mortals (rabbits). The stories were interesting, somewhat familiar in themes but engrossing. In a nutshell, I enjoyed them very much; they made for a quick, easy, entertaining, evocative session. The emotions that the rabbits feel – courage, fear, love, concern, friendship, curiousity – were very real, and I cared about the characters. Oh, and they have such lovely names! That said, I definitely felt the hole left by my failure to read Watership Down first, and think that that would have enriched the experience. Big events are referred to and not explained; I feel confident that’s what the first book did. So, recommended, but probably not until you’ve read the original, which I shall look forward to doing.

Rating: 5 bunny ears (probably more if I had read the first book first).

One Response

  1. […] I read Tales from Watership Down a while back? And noted that this was probably really one to have read in order, meaning *after* […]

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