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The Unbroken Web: Stories and Fables

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  177 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In this volume, Richard Adams has collected together nineteen enchanting folk-tales from almost as many parts of the world - from Europe to China and from Polynesia to the Arctic Circle. Each has a special magic, an aura that is sometimes beautiful and fascinating, sombre and frightening, or exciting and colourful. But what unites all these stories is the essential quality ...more
Hardcover, 141 pages
Published December 12th 1988 by Crown Publishing Group (first published 1980)
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An Odd1
Oct 27, 2015 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
19 fantasy folk tales collected from many lands and times entertain in originals. But author is no Scheherezade, so lowers, quibbles rating. Veddy British Richard Adams retells as silly cutesy pretentious narrators in phony ethnic dialects. Political incorrectness overflows in Esquimaut and round-eye devils. Plus, he shamelessly plugs his Watership Down novel.

Paintings by Yvonne Gilbert of wildlife, peasants, and nobles flow with color and life more than drawings by Jennifer Campbell. Most mora
Nate Crow
Dec 29, 2015 Nate Crow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time.

Oral traditions are meant to be organic. They should be intimate and personal. They should grow and change slowly over time and from teller to teller, yet retain their core. They should be passed on.

Yet they can and do get lost if they are not written down. We live in a modern era with the written word and so many stories to know. There in lies the conundrum: Stories need to be told to stay alive, but they need to be written down so as not to be lost.

Brian Moloney
Richard Adams' retelling of a 19 folk tales from various cultures is.... well, ok I guess. The stories themselves are varied in terms of country and culture of origin, and I appreciate what the author was trying to do by presenting each as a story told in the first person. One problem is that we never hear the interlocutor, so the narration is a little stilted (along the lines of "Do you want to hear a story? Oh, you do, do you?") and there's quite a bit of casual racism that would ensure the co ...more
This is Richard Adams at his weakest, which is a darn shame considering how utterly gorgeous the story art is. This could have well been one of my favorite short story collections had he been putting out his usual caliber of writing quality.

One talent that I've always admired Adams for is how he can painstakingly recreate regional dialects in his characters' dialogue. In "The Unbroken Web", his portrayal of accents comes off as very.... racist? Silly? Either way, uncomfortable.

There's also an
Austen to Zafón
Watership Down was just a hard act to follow, no doubt about it. I have tried several of Adams's other work and I didn't like any of it. Sad. I'm sure these collected folk tales and fables were nice in their original form, but Adams makes them twee and pretentious and after the joy of WD, that's disappointing.
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A new take on old folk-tales and fables. By placing the narrator in the story"," Adams makes these his own. I haven't heard of most of these before"," but several are vaguely similar to fairy tales I do recall.
Frances Sawaya
May 03, 2016 Frances Sawaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-our-library
I read this because I was curious about Adams's notion that on this lonely planet we are surrounded by a web of stories that are the same yet different. It is possible to catch on to a section of the web and pull down a story from it, then release it back to the surroundings. So in retelling trad stories they are the same and yet he changes them. Sort of a similar concept to the versions of Bible stories that appear repeatedly, such as the Gilgamesh legend. I rather liked his spin on the tales a ...more
Jul 13, 2015 F.j.commelin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
good stories, great illustrations
Michael Nalbone
Apr 12, 2016 Michael Nalbone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
An enjoyable read of Fairy Tales.
Feb 17, 2008 Cayr rated it really liked it
Lush color plates illustrate these fables that attempt to explain why things in the world are the way they are. Adam's conversational style is like listening to a tale spinner in front of a fire. The stories range from the Cat in the Sea, to the Chinese story of the Blind Boy and His Dog, to the Crimson Parrot of Nairobi and the Irish tale of the Mooddey Dhoo...these folktales span all the world.
Aug 19, 2007 daysgoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, spellbinding stories. Although marketed for younger readers, I think you need to be an adult to get all the innuendos - and understand all the different voices brought together in this.
Jul 14, 2007 Lara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I saw this (London first edition) and lusted after it today at Books Unlimited on Broadway. It has the most incredible color illustrations.
This book was hit and miss with me, but some stories made the book well worth the read
Bea Alden
Jul 16, 2008 Bea Alden rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Skilful retelling of old folk tales from various countries.
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Adams was born in Newbury, Berkshire. From 1933 until 1938 he was educated at Bradfield College. In 1938 he went up to Worcester College, Oxford to read Modern History. On 3 September 1939 Neville Chamberlain announced that the United Kingdom was at war with Germany. In 1940 Adams joined the British Army, in which he served until 1946. He received a class B discharge enabling him to return to Worc ...more
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