Tales from Watership Down

Richard Adams, Author Alfred A. Knopf $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-45125-9
As readers of Watership Down (1974) will recall, Adams reached classic heights of inspired storytelling in that fable of the animal kingdom, performing a finely calibrated juggling act between the real and the imagined. These 19 interrelated tales continue the adventures of the rabbits met in the earlier book, after their defeat of General Woundwart and the Efrafans. The deeds of the hero El-ahrairah are celebrated in the seven stories of Part One (of three). El-ahrairah's stalwart companion Rabscuttle joins him for four tales in Part Two, while the remaining stories, which are devoted to Hazel and his rabbits, have the continuity of a novel. Mystical, occasionally allegorical, full of whimsy, rich in vivid descriptions of the rabbits' society and of the natural world, the tales are often suspenseful, frequently amusing and invariably clever. The rabbits exhibit a wide range of behavior, showing themselves to be manipulative, defiant, ignorant and self-satisfied, along with noble, loving and brave. There is a brief summation of what happened in the initial passages of the first tale, but from there on, the book stands on its own. El-ahrairah's heroic exploits include his perilous journey to obtain a sense of smell for all rabbits and his search for eternal youth, while his adventures with Rabscuttle find them both leading another group of rabbits across a dangerous marsh as they attempt to evade an army of rapacious, savage rats. Eventually, a new warren is founded and various other ones reconfigure and recombine. The collection comes to a satisfying close by ending, as it began, with an account of the bold deeds of another heroic rabbit, formerly an enemy, now a valued member of the new warren. Illustrations not seen by PW. 200,000 first printing. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 253 pages - 978-1-56895-449-3
Hardcover - 198 pages - 978-0-09-180166-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-13835-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-380-72934-0
Prebound-Glued - 335 pages - 978-0-613-37671-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-679-45795-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7807-8691-2
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