by Richard Adams
from back cover
One of the most beloved novels of our time, Richard Adam's Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; and epic tale of a hardy band of adventurers forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community...and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called "home." Welcome to the warren.
I didn't like this book nearly so much as I thought I would. The beginning held my attention quite well because I was constantly comparing the rabbits in the story to my own pet rabbit, and the mannerisms were quite similar, giving me a wonderful first impression that the book was, in the very least, well-researched. And I really enjoyed the writing style--Richard Adams truly is talented in that area, including plenty of rich description without overwhelming the story.
What I did not expect was the violence. Self defense I understand, although rabbits tend towards the flight instinct. But these rabbits were plotting attacks. Which I also found interesting because most of the characters were portrayed as very simple-minded, and then all of a sudden they would start planning some grand scheme or other. Despite being simple-minded, though, the characters had great depth to them. I especially liked Kehaar, a rather unusual ally for rabbits (I won't spoil it by telling you which species he belongs to). Fiver is also rather endearing, if a bit strange.
Overall, Watership Down is well-written, and for the most part I enjoyed it. But I always felt this underlying sense of unease while I read it, and the book took far longer to read than it really should have.