Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Days

Just finished reading this hilariously delightful novel a few minutes ago, so thought I’d post a quick review.

Sparked by a wager with the gentlemen of the Reform Club, the passive, mathematical, ridiculously OCD Phileas Fogg sets out for a tour around the world. He’s accompanied by a recently-hired domestic, Frenchman Passporteau, and followed by the hapless detective Mr. Fix, who is convinced that Phileas Fogg robbed the Bank of England and means to arrest him (well, if that warrant ever arrives!). Along the way they pick up Aouda, a charming (if completely one-dimensional :-)) young Indian woman. Methods of transportation include: steamers, railways, carriages, yachts, trading-vessels, sledges, and elephants (well, one elephant). No balloons. For some reason I thought there would be a balloon.

This is a great book. I love the language, and there are some priceless one-liners. Really gives you a feel for the time period, in regards to both history and the way people viewed the world and different cultures back then. Nowadays this book would be woefully (often hilariously) politically incorrect, though I think that’s a part of its overall charm. The whole novel comes off as firmly tongue-in-cheek, and at the same time conveys a lot of interesting information (bits of it almost read like a travel narrative), and some really beautiful prose.

Oh and the ending. The ending is nothing short of utterly fabulous.

Makes me want to pack a carpet bag full of banknotes and jaunt off on a world tour of my own. 🙂

Five stars!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Days

  1. I always try to read books in the genre in which I am trying to write. And since my co-author and I are currently working on an adventure novel, Around the World… was a recent read for me, too.

    I know that Verne is usually classed as Science Fiction, but I'm glad that I added him to the reading queue anyway. His brand of science fiction is certainly not your common Star Wars knock-off novel, and they contain more than a measure of adventure as well.

    While I had many other classic adventures in my stacks, I found myself drawn to consume as much Verne as I could get my hands on.

    I loved them all, some more than ATWI80D. I remember being surprised at just how many of his novels had been made into movies and how little any of them were like the books.

    I know this happens to some extent in any adaptation for film, but Verne has been particularly victimized. And I believe that The Mysterious Island is the king of this kind of abuse.

    I have yet to see anything remotely like the book in any of the half dozen or more screen versions. Much like hot air balloons in Around the World…, they always have to add female characters and dinosaurs to The Mysterious Island for some reason.

  2. Diabolical, thanks for visiting! “Around the World” is the first Verne I've read, and I definitely want to read more now. It's a shame that none of the movies ever match up–I remember seeing part of an adaptation of “Around the World” that I didn't care for very much at all (I actually don't think I recollect anything about it apart from the vague notion of a hot air balloon). Definitely glad to have read the book.

    Thanks again for stopping by, and good luck with that adventure novel!

  3. Wow! I love your review because it really makes we want to read it. I have always avoided Jules Verne because his work always seemed boring to me. Even if it is science fiction it just appeared really stuffy and old. I don't know, not very appealing at all. However, I am totally convinced and when I am finished with the stuff I am reading now I will totally read this book. And I love how things were “politically incorrect” back then. Things were SO much more hilarious when people weren't worried about offending other people.

    Anyway, props for your review!

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