When I first saw that 'Watership Down' was available on Audible, my interest was sparked but I must say I was rather hesitant. This was a book that came to me highly recommended not by family or friends (who are not big readers) but by writers and directors that I respect. Despite this, I was uncertain about downloading the novel because of it's reputation as a kid's book.
"*Harumph*," I thought (my inner voice adopting it's most elitist tone), "I read liiiteratuuure (really stress the vowels here)! What will people think if they see me listening to a story about rabbits? I should go download some Dostoevsky so I can casually show off my intellect."
Well, superseding the influence of my arrogant ego, I downloaded "Watership Down" and devoured it in a week. I was addicted. This is novel that is much more Pixar than Disney, if you understand the sentiment. While 'Watership Down' may be written with children in mind, it is never for a second patronizing. It deals honestly with issues of death and struggle instead of airbrushing over these integral topics. This novel is the first fifteen minutes of 'Up', the garbage dump scene of 'Toy Story 3'. It is beautiful, it is imaginative, and, most importantly, it is, as Maurice Spendak would put it, 'the truth'.
So, if a snobbish 19-year old like me can fall in love with a story like this, I bet you will too.
Note: My lone complaint is that 'Watership Down' has a mostly male cast of characters, and even this serves a sort of lofty ideal of honesty. Nature divides along gender lines. And there are still more strong female characters in 'Watership' than in say 'Lord of the Rings'. The novel can of course still be enjoyed by all, but if you want to listen to this with your daughter, you should be aware of this going in.
Surprisingly so, given how much I loved reading the book more than 30 years ago. Ralph Cosham brings the right gravity to characters that might otherwise have been dishonored by caricature.
It is hard for me to compare, because Adams did so masterful a job of avoiding mere anthropomorphic cartooning, while investing his characters with recognizably lapine natures.
There is no hint of foolishness or coyness in Cosham's performance. He delivers the text in a suitably dignified and moving manner.
Many moving moments, when the characters are in great stress, yet exhibit courage and loyalty to one another.
Watership Down is an experience that defies easy description. It is neither a comic trifle, or a ponderous bore, but instead a lively, moving tale of heroism and brotherhood, of leadership and sacrifice and the value of life. It is a profoundly peaceful and rewarding experience, for reasons that are difficult to articulate. Go ahead and listen for yourself.
This is the first time to rate an audio book. I haven't listened to that many but a few, mostly library CDs. This one engaged the children and adults, we listened to it together as a family. At times it was gripping and at other times you could see the kids trying to warn the rabbits or make connections.Luckily we have read and studied some of the classics used within the chapter openings so they were also able to see the similarities and subtleties within them and do good a fair analysis. I am overall very happy with this product.
We most enjoyed all the stories within the basic story both direct and indirect and how the story weaves itself around the fabric of our lives even years after reading and goes deeper with each reading. In my opinion it is an excellent example of work that is destine to become a classic.
There were so many good characters and some that only appear as back characters. Loved Kehaar, which he added the levity and was one where the reader did a good job at making him sound foreign. Hazel, he showed honor and valor doesn't need muscle and brawn. Then there is Bigwig and even though I didn't much care for him at first he grew into my favorite character, but then often those are the best kind.
I did. It was not as expressive as it could have been, then I have listened to my husband and eldest daughter read books and they change voices with characters and have developed a world of accents, tones, and textures with each character. Even her college professor has her doing the readings in her literature class now. So I may not be a good judge. I think it could have been more expressive though. The story is read much like I imagine it was read to the authors children during their trip so it somewhat adds to that texture.
Yes and no. It was a gripping story so in that we wanted to continue but the themes needed digesting and discussing and time helped give some added depth. There are lags but only if you are into shallow reading which we are not.
If you haven't read Watership Down and you enjoy classic style reading with good themes, depth, and substance this is a book you don't want to miss. This is our third time through it and the first time in audio form.
Watership Down is a story of courage, survival and accomplishment featuring a small but growing band of modest but smart guy rabbits who rely on one another, stick together and utilize each other's best strengths. I particulary liked the contrast in leadership between their leader, Hazel, a soft spoken, resourceful strategist and his counterpart and opponent, Woundwart, a warrior who runs a warren right out of 1984. The guys nuture and care for each other along the way, figure out how to succeed and eventually prevail. The narrator was superb. I highly recommend the story.
This is imagination let loose. A fantastic saga about rabbits, very entertaining. The narrative flows like a river, it was like seeing it happen before me, very difficult to stop if you need to interrupt the story.
It was very well read too.
It was such a different story that I could not stop listening.
Loved the word the rabbits had for things like tractors.
I was listening to another audio book and the cook Watership Down was mentioned in the story. I was so glad I had listened to the book.
yes, parallels some of the political rhetoric of today...exemplifies that we are not going though new problems.
When "fiver" convinced the wayward rabbits to leave the snare laden warren. in his speech he described the axiom of "a Government big enough to give you anything is big enough to take everything."
movie already done...
The narrators "Brit" accent is captivating and fits the story very well!
This reading of Richard Adams beloved tale was wonderfully told. I rank Watership Down as one of the top audiobooks I have listened to. The story and the narration does not get much better than this.
The seeming death of Bigwig was truly sad and graphically painted with words.
Mr. Cosham has that special ability or magic that it takes to separate characters voices one from the other and bring them vibrantly to life.
I've been around a few summers so nothing that transpired in the book was a great surprise but I did feel deep sadness from time to time as the tale of these brave rabbits so closely parallel the struggles of human beings of conscience who try to determine a just path in life. I was also reminded a few times that nature's way can be cruel and abrupt and that we can either except it or live in denial.
Yes. The story is one of my favorites and it never gets dull. Its an excellent listen before bed.
Authentic accents. As much as I love reading this book, I simply cannot reproduce in my mind the correct voices for these little British rabbits. You can almost feel like one Richard Adams' beloved children being read the book by their father.
The only negative for me is that with as many characters as there are, Cosham was not able to differentiate them all with unique voices. He does a very good job overall however!
Hard for me to say. Perhaps a pre teen or early teenager. It seemed too long for bedtime reading to a younger child and not deep enough for adult reading. I gave up on it after a few hours.
yes. Clearly not in the class of books like Animal Farm or Lord of the Flies and way to long to read with an eye to scouting out books I could read to my grandchild in a few years.
it was ok. I don't think reading it faster would have helped.
Just a sense that I did a bad job of picking the book.