Thursday, September 4, 2008

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows is a children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame, and was originally published in 1908. It concerns the doings of four anthropomorphized creatures: Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad. Most of the book involves their day-to-day activities, and there is very little plot to speak of.

The book is quite often tediously slow. No character other than Toad does anything remotely interesting or anything approximating an “adventure”. Most of the book involves Mole and Rat puttering around their happy but excruciatingly mundane lives. Those chapters that involve Toad are slightly more interesting. The last chapter of the book has the makings of a full-blown action scene, but Grahame breezes through it in astonishingly short order. The characters are moderately interesting, but three out of the four protagonists are irritatingly melodramatic in their behavior.

Something Grahame has done well is vividly depict the charms of nature and the English countryside. But sometimes he does this too vividly, particularly at the beginnings of chapters, where the reader is often faced with page after page of nothing but description.

The Wind in the Willows is not without its charms, but it isn’t particularly interesting.