Watership Down (Books 1&2) by Richard Adams – Book Review

New release from Penguin, reviewed.


This British classic tells the journey of a group of rabbits through the South of England. The trek begins when Fiver, a younger rabbit that has sporadic visions of the future, predicts that a “great evil” is just about to wreck their home, and kill all of them. He and his brother convince about a dozen individuals into running away… But their families and friends stay and eventually die. 

The journey, and the different personalities of the rabbits, create interesting stories within the book, as is common with fables. However humans exist in this world, in fact, they are the cause of the destruction of the rabbits home. And so, although many times we feel that the rabbit’s story is about us, we can also notice when, well, it’s just about rabbits. 

But it’s not “just about rabbits” of course, the inevitable anthropomorphization of these animals is central to making this book a masterpiece. As the characters, and the relationships that they have with each other, are the undeniable heart of the work.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed reading Watership Down, or the first two volumes at least. It understands that we can take lessons from fables, as opposed to “should”. The load of moralism sometimes present in these kinds of works is often times excessive, but Adams thankfully avoids that.