The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a wonderful tale!
Every character in this story is distinct, full of life, and their voices leap out of the page.
The scenes are simply beautiful. There’s a dreaminess to the pacing that sets you back a hundred years or more when people in the Americas used to share their food and talk at great length with strangers.
One particular scene that stuck out to me was the one in which Rat and the Mole are searching for the lost otter child, but hear the call of mysterious music, forget what they are doing, and go searching for the source instead. They come to an island and, traveling inwards, come to a cool-green meadow where the music seems to come all around them with no particular source. Rat says, “…surely, this is where we will find Him,” in awe, and both animals take off their hats and stand silently as the sun rises. Suddenly, when the sun does rise, the animals forget what they had just experienced and remember they were looking for the young otter child. The otter turns out to be just a few yards away from them and they take him home, but Mole drags behind a little, trying to remember, but failing to remember what they had experienced. I think I liked this scene because when we feel a divine presence or have a wonderful dream, we forget thereafter all of it in its details and only have a taste in our mouths to remind us that it happened.
Toad is hilarious –– definitely one of my favorite character portrayals of all time.
I did have one problem with the story, and that was that Toad never really did anything to redeem himself after all his picaresque harassment on society.
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