Thursday, December 7, 2023

Watership Down

Russell Moore presents his annual ten favorite books list: "My Favorite Books of 2023." The first on the list is Watership Down: The Graphic Novel. I had missed its publication but now that I know it exists I am sorely tempted. Moore:
Once, I mentioned the novel Watership Down and a young man said, “Yeah, I read that when I was a kid. It was really sweet.” After a couple of minutes of confusion, we realized he was thinking of The Velveteen Rabbit. The rabbits in Watership Down are anything but velveteen. The book deals with the darkest aspects of human existence projected onto the lives of warrens of rabbits—murder, envy, rivalry, exile, scapegoating.

That’s why I loved this graphic novel. The artwork captures what the book is attempting: to give the reader the vertigo of seeing animals we are acculturated to view as harmless while at the same time seeing the tension, peril, and depravity that we pretend we don’t see in ourselves. The last page, particularly, is astoundingly beautiful.
“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you—digger, listener, runner, Prince with the Swift Warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people shall never be destroyed.”

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