Twenty-Fifteen: I’m doing something I’ve been putting off for far too long. I’m getting serious about reading, again. I’ve dusted off my paperbacks and charged up my Kindle. It’s time to take the time to feed my poor television-adled brain with a selection of healthy, nourishing fiction. So, read on, little brain. Read on. We’re going Book to the Future!
In my introductory post I noted that one of my prime motivators for originally seeking out a copy of Watership Down by Richard Adams was that it was hinted to have some parallels to the now-decade-old television drama “Lost” and that one of the characters hinted at this by having been seen sitting on the beach reading a copy in a kind of homage to the homage: halfway through the novel myself (slowly reading the book in contradiction to the notion I may read more in the summertime) I see the connection.
In the loosest of allusions, “Lost” is a kind of beat-by-beat replay of the rabbit story: characters ejected into the unknown, attempting to survive, following untapped instincts and bolstering unrealized courage, all the while facing off against vague maybe-enemies that attack them or join them or hinder them or hunt them or attempt to capture them not out of evil or spite or malice, but simply because of the threat of disruption to existing micro-societies no matter how fractured or broken.
I’m enjoying it.
I’m enjoying it. And I’ll stop with the “Lost” comparisons…. now.
As a children’s book, which it is –though a thick and complex and richly twisting story for older kids– there is an innocence that ripples through the darkest aspects of the tale. A simple morality overlays the more convoluted elements of the bunny manipulations in that the bunnies themselves are neither good nor bad, but just trying to survive and at the end of it a child may see it as good prevailing over bad, but the more mature perspective will see the shaded grays within the actions of the characters.
One of the reasons I am a little slower reading this book is that the language is a blend of rich, proper-English (which in a sense makes the novel read about a hundred years older than it actually is) and the bunny vocabulary, which is peppered in and over and through. Words with bunny-based specific meaning drive the narrative and flesh out the setting aiding to deepen the universe and the implied world of sentient rabbits living in the English country-side, but trip up any notion of skim-reading or quick absorption of the text as the reader normalizes the rabbit-speak.
The book yearns to be read aloud, too, I think. And I’ve been tempted: Claire peeking over my shoulder as her dad reads a thick novel with a sketch of a rabbit on the cover has made her curious enough to ask for that exact thing: though I’ve yet to indulge. “I’ll read it to you from the beginning.” I tell her, selfishly hogging my first read-through and knowing that starting mid-way would leave a lot unexplained to an inquisitive kid. “Someday.”
And so, I read on.