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Date [ 2013-06-21, 15:35 ]

Most children would have read the Wind in the Willows and here comes the sequel.


 

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) by Ramani Rathir = Those who wished there was more to read after this classic, will now have their wish. For William

Horwood has written a follow-up with a title which explains it all, the Willows and Beyond..

Mole, now older, has mellowed, is less active but still a close friend of the Water Rat. His nephew is already established on the Riverbank and so the scene is set for the new story to unfold. Coming in is Young Rat, a competent and self-effacing waterman like the Rat himself. He joins Grandson and Master Toad as the younger generation of Riverbankers. The old - Badger, Mister Toad and the Wild Wood itself go into the great beyond.

Based on the original Wind in the Willows, it is a finale to the lives of the older residents of Willow. It brings to mind the trials and tribulations of Mister Toad, the unassuming and steady friendship between Mole and Ratty, and the quiet support extended by Otter and Badger. What is apparent is that, yes! the original main characters will pass away but there is always a younger version of themselves awaiting in the wings. The writer has done this very adroitly and subtly, so much so, you do not really realize there is a younger generation to take over from the elders.

The Riverbankers seem to be bachelors for life, or will a new twist emerge? Perfect gentlemen, they are satisfied with the friendship they have for each other and content to enjoy the simple pleasures found in the Willows. Of course the exception is Toad who has, shall we say ‘…higher tastes in life.”  

Horwood has managed a seamless transition with the characters created originally by Kenneth Grahame. Luckily for us, there are no sudden jars and it is a smooth ride into today’s Willows.

This has the original characters at the end of their days and facing a crisis. As expected of them they put up a good resistance. But it is not enough and they lose. It is admirable, nevertheless still heartbreaking, when wisely they decide to give up the fight. Perhaps to let the youngsters carry on.

Besides the authors, one other person who should be able to bring back the Willows alive will be the illustrator. Thankfully, we still had Patrick Benson whose cover managed to capture the very essence of the Willows. Inside, Mister Toad comes alive with his mood changes, the spirit of Christmas falling on the residents of the woods, Mr. Badger’s slow shuffle and more.

Time to revisit the Willows. abc@koreanpress.net

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