May 9th, 2010

green road

Happy Birthday, Dear Richard Adams

Richard Adams, creator of Watership Down, turned 90 today. He has a new story in Gentle Footprints, a British anthology for the benefit of The Born Free Foundation.

Watership Down began as bedtime stories Adams told his daughters. (I understand that Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn started the same way. Maybe more authors need to tell their stories before writing them.) When it was published, the novel become an instant classic, beloved by millions. Adams has written a number of other books in several genres. They are all distinguished by a flowing, lyical prose style and close observation of nature.

As beautiful as Watership Down is, it's not my favorite Richard Adams. The Girl in a Swing offers a love story increasingly infused with terror. I'd class it with The Turn of the Screw in literary quality. Every element resonates; every detail adds to the story. The metaphors are integral, and the shape of the story has the coherence and beauty of a rose.

Thank you for your stories and for the generous heart that shapes them. Thanks for the beauty of your writing.