Friday, March 24, 2017

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

I didn't enjoy Around the World in 80 Days the first time I tried to read it, but when my sister told me it was one of their family favorites, I decided to give it another try. It helped that the second time around I listened to the audible version, wonderfully narrated by Patrick Tull. Tull is British, but does a great job with Passepartout's French accent, and also with the gruff American voices.

Phileas Fogg leads a quiet life, living alone (except for his valet), frequenting his men's club and living by the clock. His previous valet was fired for bringing him shaving water at 84 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 86. All of that changes when he wagers that he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. The story takes place in 1872 when most modes of transportation were extremely unreliable, so the men in the club are eager to bet against him. Although he encounters many obstacles on his journey, he remains delightfully unperturbed. Even when he's accused of a crime and hunted by a determined English detective.

The whole story pokes fun at British exactness (and later at American energy/ingenuity). It is a nice light-hearted read if you are looking for clean, escapist literature. There are damsels in distress (in India), gun fights with Indians (in America), kidnappings (on the high seas), and other hair-raising adventures. And a good dose of humor.

Is Fogg a criminal? Or just an eccentric? Will he fall in love with the lovely Aouda? Or is it true that he has no heart? Will Detective Fix be able to stop him? All these and other questions are answered nicely by the end of the book.



Christina Stuck said...

I recently enjoyed this book, although not as much as A Journey to the Center of the Earth. I did a write-up on my weekly wrap-up #10: I'm not sure you have read The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz (one Newbery Honor 2017) but I have equated the narrator of that story to Detective Fix: believes so strongly one way and then spends time with the supposed criminal...and {SPOILER} changes his mind about it. Verne is a superb writer. I've enjoyed reading his works.

Barbara H. said...

I enjoyed this audiobook (same narrator as yours) about a year ago. It was a title I had heard all my life but ever gotten to til then, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.