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WATERSHIP DOWN – Federico Jusid

January 8, 2019 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 1972 novel Watership Down by Richard Adams is a classic of British literature. Note that I said literature and not children’s literature, because although the story is about a group of anthropomorphized rabbits, the story is very much an adult one. Following the destruction of their warren, a group of rabbits led by the brave Hazel, the sensitive Fiver, and the strong Bigwig make their way across the English countryside in search of a new home, and must fight against all manner of dangers – both natural and man-made – as they do so. What’s so brilliant about Adams’s novel is the way in which it creates an entire culture for the rabbits, with a creation myth, gods and spirits, a unique language with specialized vocabulary, and even a hierarchical society – the latter of which comes into play when Hazel and his friends encounter rabbits from an authoritarian rival warren overseen by the tyrannical General Woundwort. When you combine this with themes that mirror classical epics about life and death, environmentalism, and politics, the result is one of the great English books of the last fifty years. The story was made into a much-loved animated film in 1978 – again, not for kids – and is now a three-part mini-series jointly produced by the BBC and Netflix, directed by Noam Murro, which features an astonishing voice cast including James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, John Boyega, Ben Kingsley, Tom Wilkinson, Gemma Arterton, Olivia Colman, Daniel Kaluuya, Taron Egerton, and many many others. Read more…

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