Watership Down by Richard Adams
Written nearly half a century ago, this classic tale about rabbits still vividly resonates today, with another TV mini series released last Christmas to a whole new generation.
With that in mind I’m embarrassed to say that this was the first time I have read the novel. As someone who grew up with the 1978 movie, I felt like I already knew this well-loved story, but how wrong I was. The detailed and beautiful text, including the wonderfully clever Lapine (rabbit language and culture) that Adams created are so easy to read. The story just flows and you find yourself completely immersed.
Set in the picturesque English countryside, it begins when Fiver starts to have visions of doom approaching the idyllic Sandleford warren. Little do they know that a developer has listed their home for destruction. A motley band of rabbits decide to leave, led by Fiver’s brother Hazel, but the world outside the warren hides dangers that they could not have imagined; dogs, birds and humans among them.
An adventure full of courage, suspense and heartwrenching sadness, I definitely cried more than once, but there is hope and renewal at the end. A novel full of heart, recommended for readers aged 10+.