A novel whose cultural resonance is testament to the archetypal status of its unique hero. The unnamed narrator is both a generic and emblematic figure (underground man, courtly avenger, wild man of the woods) as well as sui generis. His adventures in and beneath the English countryside are nightmarishly surreal as well as folksy and familiar. He is one of the rabbits living on Watership Down. He is Lear on the heath. He is a psychopath. Like most fantasy fables, it’s a book that allows for many readings and interpretations, unbound to any particular time or place. Included among its descendants are The Day of the Jackal and First Blood. It was a product of Auden’s “low dishonest decade,” which was an odd period for British fiction. The pure products of England weren’t going crazy yet, but they were definitely starting to show signs of cracking up.