Amidst all the dispiriting deaths in 2016, that of Richard Adams didn’t get a whole lot of attention. But his Watership Down was a masterpiece, I think. In it, he created a world so vivid, so completely realized, that it rivaled Lord of the Rings. And it was about, you know, rabbits. Forty years later, I still look at a rabbit nibbling on some grass and I think of the word silflay.
I read his second novel, Shardik, and I thought it was just okay. I didn’t bother with The Plague Dogs. But Watership Down is forever.
“Would that the dead were not dead! But there is grass that must be eaten, pellets that must be chewed, hraka that must be passed, holes that must be dug, sleep that must be slept.”