Adams, author of “Water­ship Down,” dies at 96

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - By David Henry

Richard Adams, the English author who brought the rab­bit world alive with the best-sell­ing ad­ven­ture novel “Water­ship Down” dur­ing the 1970s, has died. He was 96. He died Satur­day. Adams’ first book sold more than 50 mil­lion copies world­wide and has re­mained in print since it was pub­lished in 1972. Ini­tially re­jected by sev­eral pub­lish­ers, it was con­ceived as a story that Adams had told to his daugh­ters, Juliet and Rosa­mond, on a long car trip. It won the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Chil­dren’s Fic­tion Prize and led Adams into a writ­ing ca­reer that in­cluded more than 20 ti­tles. “Water­ship Down” also be­came an an­i­mated tele­vi­sion se­ries and film.

Set in the English coun­try­side, “Water­ship Down” tells the tale of a rab­bit named Fiver who has a vi­sion that the war­ren he in­hab­its with a group of other bun­nies is fac­ing de­struc­tion. This leads a small group of them, in­clud­ing his brother Hazel, to search for a safer home be­fore find­ing a peace­ful place called Water­ship Down. New chal­lenges arise and they are forced to ward off the per­ils posed by a ri­val war­ren.

Crit­ics drew par­al­lels to Homer’s “Odyssey” and Vir­gil’s “Aeneid” for its epic qual­i­ties and saw reli­gious sym­bol­ism in the story line, al­though Adams re­jected this.

“It’s only a made-up story,” he told the BBC in 2007. “I sim­ply wrote down a story I told to my lit­tle girls.”

He wrote what was to be his best-seller each night af­ter work. The man­u­script was re­jected by four pub­lish­ers and three firms of agents who, ac­cord­ing to Adams, said the writ­ing style was “too or­di­nary for adults” and much too “grown up” to ap­peal to chil­dren. Adams told the In­de­pen­dent news­pa­per in 2010. “This is just a book. Any­body who finds it en­joy­able is wel­come to read it, whether they’re 6 or 66.”

Richard Adams wrote the beloved book “Water­ship Down” in 1972. As­so­ci­ated Press file

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.