Monday, August 16, 2010
'Around the World in 80 Days' -Review
Publisher: Penguin Popular Classics
Length: 256 Pages
'Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house in which Sheridan died in 1814.'
By the time this post is published, it will be Monday. However, I'm actually typing this on my balcony on a bright Sunday afternoon, just before I head off for Sunday lunch. If I tried to write this after lunch, I think it possibly wouldn't make too make sense, as I'd be too sleepy or full of wine!
Anyway, having previously enjoyed '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' by Jules Verne, I thought that I would try another one of his titles. I usually feel a sense of trepidation when embarking on additional titles from an author, whose book I've just enjoyed, as I normally find that reading a second or third novel by them, is never quite good as the first. However, I decided to give 'Around the World in 80 Days' a go and I'm happy to say, that this novel was even better than the first.
It revolves around Phileas Fogg, an English gentleman with a stickler for routine, taking on a £20,000 wager with the other gentlemen in his local Reform Club, to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. Along for the ride is Passepartout, his newly appointed servant, hoping for a quieter life. However, he finds himself on an unexpected adventure, saving a young Parsi woman called Aouda, causing chaos in Calcutta and riding elephants in the jungle.
Throughout the story, Phileas Fogg is pursued by a Scotland Yard policeman named Fix, who is convinced that Phileas Fogg is a bank robber and he deceives Passepartout into helping him to catch his criminal. Will Phileas Fogg escape imprisonment and arrive back in London on time? It would be wrong of me to spoil it for you!
I loved this book. I enjoyed '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea', but I found that'Around the World in 80 Days' had a pace which more suited my reading preference, it explained everything sufficiently, but wasn't quite as slow as '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'. Also, I found that I wasn't bogged down with information, as I felt when I read '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea', even though the facts featured within that book, gave authenticity to the novel.
I love the characters within the book. In fact, I feel that on the whole, Jules Verne has the ability to create great characterisation within his novels. However, he likes his main character to be forthright gentleman and Phileas Fogg, is the quintessential English gent, who is never phased by a crisis.
This book is charming, funny and so gripping that you can't wait for the next chapter, to see what happens next. In fact, it's the perfect illustration of the game 'Can you?' which Stephen King talks about in his novel 'Misery'. Verne puts his characters into impossible situations and leaves the reader thinking 'How are they going to get out of this one?', then he rescues his characters, but with convincing resolutions.
'Around the World in 80 Days' is fun, exciting and a good old fashioned adventure story, which is easy to get lost in. I definitely recommend it.