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Andrew

Watership Down

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Any other admirers here? I've just finished reading this book for the third time in about 15 years, thanks to some prompting from a Stanley Hauerwas essay, in which he expounds on how the role of story, narrative, community, and politics in WD parallel their significance for Christians.

Anyway, this is a delightful book - on one level, it's a terrific adventure story about a bunch of rabbits coming together to escape destruction of their warren, and their efforts to establish a new community. On a subtler level - and here I agree with Hauerwas - it's a terrific commentary on how we should live out the stories that are important to us, as well as a morality play.

Besides Watership Down, I've read 2 other books by Richard Adams: Traveller and The Plague Dogs, both of which I also found enjoyable and moving. The former is a novel of the Civil War, told from the perspective of Robert E. Lee's well-known horse. I've now moved on to another book by him, Girl in the Swing - for a change of pace, animals are not protagonists in this tale!

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Link to the thread on the film. I've been a huge fan of the film most of my life, and I read the book when I was in Grade 6, but that was 23 years ago and I haven't re-read it since ...

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Since The Lord of the Rings is three novels, or in Tolkien's mind, SIX... I can honestly say that Watership Down is my favorite novel. I've lost track of how many times I've read it, and I've read it through, cover to cover, out loud to girlfriends of mine twice.

(Of course, both of those girlfriends ended up breaking up with me...) unsure.gif

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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Just for fun, Adams published some years ago a group of incidents which didn't quite make it into the book, called "Tales of Watership Down". They were generally unrelated vignettes, but most of them are entertaining. There is, for example, one about a warren near a farm, where the rabbits decide to throw their weight around, by (among other things) killing a pet cat, and what the farmer does in reply; or another in which a rabbit is kept to lure travellers into a maze inhabited by something unpleasant. For anyone who is unhappy that the book had to end, these tales may provide a bit of consolation. I picked one up on remainder; I suspect that the book wasn't quite a best-seller.

And I haven't seen the movie; I tend to find movies of complex books disappointing, in that I can always imagine a better version.

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I have the "Tales" collection in hardcover. It's a nice-looking book. If you can find it in a $1.98 bin somewhere, it's worth picking up. Otherwise you may want just get it from the library. My opinion - the stories are a mixed bag, and none of them memorable.

The original remains Adams' best work (that I've read to date). "Plague Dogs" was equally good, though more grim and unpleasant. "Traveller" was a neat idea, but it did not hold my attention, and I didn't finish it. "Shardik" was OK, but not memorable.

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First: Big fan of the book. Think the film is fantastic (and I for one like Art Garfunkel, so there tongue.gif ).

Second: I've never read The Plague Dogs, but I did catch part of the film version on TV once. Anyone seen the whole thing? It did make me curious about the book.

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In the film thread we've talked about the fact that the movie is being reissued by Criterion now. But apparently the book was recently republished too. Here's an interview with Richard Adams (who is now 94) that appeared in the Telegraph just over a week ago.

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