Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Richard Adams "Watership Down"

Frank Herbert's Dune was rejected by almost twenty publishers. Made into two movies, it is now the best selling science-fiction book of all time. Ayn Rand's Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers, and has been made into a movie, sold millions of copies, and was voted second-favorite novel of the 20th Century in Modern Library's reader's poll. Richard Adams' Watership Down was rejected by 13 publishers. It has been adapted for film and television. It is 79th on the Modern Library poll. It has sold more copies than any other novel under the Penguin Books label.

Watership Down is the epic adventure story of Fiver, Bigwig and Hazel, three rabbits whose warren is destroyed and who must brave the threats of men, predators, and a band of rabbits run as a military dictatorship in order to build a home in peace and freedom. A critical success, the novel has been likened to Tolkien's work for its complex back-story including a mythology and an invented language. It has been likened to Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid for its plot and epic scope. It is the story of the triumph of bravery and cooperation over submission and force.

While the subject might seem juvenile, the story is written at an adult level and will appeal to all who like a well-plotted adventure with a positive theme and a happy ending. This is one book that no parent will begrudge reading his children.

The 1978 movie adaption is quite faithful to the book. It should, of course, be enjoyed after you have read the novel. It is also available in full on YouTube, here:

No comments: