The character development.
I haven't finished it yet but so far it's the moment when fiver realized that hazel was alive because of his vision of hazel following the other rabbits home.
This book was read to me years ago in school and I remember being lost in the story and the characters. For years I wanted to read it again and then I decided to enjoy it like I originally did by having it read to me and I'm glad I did. The narrator has really brought the characters to life and Ive found myself feeling like I did as a child but with a better understanding of the political and religious influences that are underlined throughout the story.
Defiantly a credit well spent.
I loved this classic when I first read it years ago. Cosham's performance is alive, but print and audio are different media. I don't think a comparison is possible.
Fiver because of his spirituality and his eventual acceptance as a special menber of the warren. Hazel trusted him always, but others needed repeated examples of his powers.
BigWig's breakout from General Woundwort's warren and the raft escape down the river.
Hazel, because of his quiet leadership and democratic approach to being chief rabbit.
If at first you don’t succeed; call it Version 1.0 ...
It can be difficult to explain how a book about rabbits can feel so touchingly human. Before I was even past the fifth chapter, I felt for Hazel, Fiver, Big Wig, and the rest of their company so completely that I had trouble not listening to the rest of the book.
Richard Adams paints a beautiful story using the wilds of the English Countryside as his canvas, and Ralph Cosham is a masterful narrator of this classic.
This is one I will certainly be listening to again in the future.
I think this book should be a must read for all school children and then again when they are through with school. ( You never look at rabbits the same again). I think Richard Adams wrote this for his kids for entertainment and to learn a bit about life and that you will never know what you can do if you have the courage to persist.
A small group of rabbits leave their warren in the English countryside when one of them (a small rabbit named Fiver who has the gift of prophecy) foresees bad things on the horizon. The book chronicles their adventures as they seek a place to build a new warren. Under the leadership of Hazel, the band of rabbits faces many obstacles—from how to cross a river to the lack of does to the penultimate battle with a warren run by the evil General Woundwart.
I cannot believe that I didn’t read this book until this year!! Originally published in 1972, Watership Down has been sitting out there my entire life and yet it took me until 2012 to read it. All I ever knew was that it was a book about rabbits. The simplistic book description is also deceiving. Yet it took only an hour of listening for me to realize that I was in the presence of greatness—a true 5 star read. Watership Down was an incredibly satisfying, rich and magical reading experience—the kind of book that transcends age and time. In my opinion, it deserves a place on the list of best books of all time, and it certainly has earned a place on my list of all-time favorite books.
What makes the book so satisfying is that it works on multiple levels and that Adams strikes the perfect balance between reality and magic. Not only will the book satisfy children looking for a gripping adventure tale and rabbit folklore (the book grew out of a series of stories that Adams told his daughters), it will also satisfy an adult reader, with the rich personalities of the rabbits (we all have a Big Wig in our lives, I’m sure) and how well the rabbits’ lives translate into our human lives. Although Adams talks in the introduction about how the book is not an allegory, it is not difficult to see the differences between the leadership approaches of Hazel and General Woundwart.
Perhaps the best choice that Adams made is that, although these are talking rabbits, he makes them grounded in reality. In the introduction, Adams talks about how he never has his rabbits do anything that a real rabbit wouldn’t do. These are not rabbits who build little houses and wear clothes like Peter Cottontail. They are wild and natural rabbits and they live as such. When faced with an obstacle such as how to cross a river, they come up with a solution that felt realistic, plausible and yet seemed like a huge leap of logic for a rabbit, which is why Blackberry (the “smart one”) had to come up with it.
Adams even gives the rabbits their own language (Lapine), which I found myself easily adopting. (Their word for tractor or car is hrududu, which, when pronounced by an awesome reader like Ralph Casham, sounds just like a vehicle engine as interpreted by an animal.) It became commonplace to hear words like silflay (going aboveground to feed) and know exactly what they meant.
Another wondrous touch was the rich folklore and mythology that Adams creates for the rabbits. One of the ways the rabbits keep their spirits up and adapt to their surroundings is by repeating the stories of El-Ahrairah, one of the first rabbits, whose exploits and trickery are woven throughout the book. I adored these stories about El-Ahrairah and enjoyed seeing how the rabbits would adapt the story to their present situation.
The other thing I loved about this book was that Adams doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of life. The rabbits face real danger, including death and injury. Yet these moments are leavened by moments of triumph, peace and sweetness. There were also moments of comic relief (the pidgin talk of the gull Keehar and Big Wig’s take on the world just tickled me). In addition, Adams writes one of the most beautiful and satisfying death scenes I’ve ever read in literature.
Nothing I can write can really capture how wondrous and satisfying and pleasing this book was. If you’ve not read it yet, please get a copy (either in print or on audiobook) and read it as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss this book like I almost did. It is brilliant on so many levels, and I applaud Adams for creating such a wondrous work of literature that hits all the right notes.
ABOUT THE NARRATION
Ralph Cosham was the narrator I listened to, and he was pitch perfect. He captured the voices of each character perfectly—from Pipken’s timidity to Big Wig’s warm-hearted bluster. At 15+ hours, this was relatively long listen but I never once tired of it and could not wait to immerse myself in this world over and over again. It was with a real sense of loss that I finished this book.
This is as perfect as a book can get and I recommend it to everyone. If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly urge you to do so. I shall definitely be reading/listening to this one again, and I cannot wait for my son to be ready for it.
Yes I loved the story and the Lapin language was charming. The rabbit characters showed respect for each other which seems to be lacking in most of the adventure books I've read lately.
Not necessarily but I looked forward to turning it back on.
Narrator was great! Very soothing voice that easy to listen to.
Bigwig. Courage and continued loyalty to his friends. Stayed on his purpose despite having every opportunity to switch.
Hazel wouldn't eat as much as Bigwig.
Wow! There's a reason why this book has captivated so many! (spoiler) I cried and cried when Bigwig took his stand! Great to see bravery like that.
So much about what Hazel and Fiver stand for is what I would stand for in terms of community and resistance to tyranny.
Adams did what I would like to do in my life--to create a story based on shared experiences with his children ( he began to make the story up by telling it to them) and then embellish it and follow it through to become something that really blesses many.
Just a terrific tale!
I had never read "Watership Down" and while I had heard it was pretty good, I always thought of it as "pretty good for a classic", i.e., kinda boring. Wow, was I wrong. It's extremely suspenseful, clever, well-written, and the characters and their adventures are absolutely compelling. I love this book!!!!!
I love this book. I would not be afraid to say I have read it 50 times. But I haven't read it at all in the last 10 years or so and this audio version brought it pleasantly back to life for me. It was a great way to revisit it.
Although it is about rabbits it is most like a combination of any epic fantasy ala Tolkien in terms of world-building and mythology and military/adventure stories like those of Alistair MacLean in terms of plot! Oh, and throw in a dose of post-apocalyptic survival narratives... And fairy tales.
I played this aloud each night for a week for family members who were resistant to listening to a book whose main characters were bunnies but they all ended up gripped by the story and couldn't wait for the next installment.
A good first long story for a 13 year old and older.. I'm 68 and loved it. The little animals are all so cute and you've made me a believer of all the little familys and to-getherness of all the characters. A fun place to go in your mind and have hours and hours of fun..