Tuesday, November 10, 2015

154. Around The World In 80 Days

Around The World In 80 Days
Jules Verne
1873
Around 250 pages









Did any other List Follower find this story inspirational for our quest?  A seemingly impossible wager is made and a lot of people bet against us?  Come to think of it, has anyone actually finished the List before?  I know there is a difference between reading 1001 novels and fearlessly trekking across the globe.  Although come to think of it, the 80 Days Quest might be easier, even in Verne's time.  After all, my project is going to take twenty years and I won't be paid a million pounds if I succeed.  Which is bullshit, in my opinion.

Getting back on track here, let's talk about this novel.  Phileas Fogg is a rich English loner who makes a wager for 20,000 pounds with several members of the Reform Club that he can travel around the world in 80 days (trains are magic to them, after all).  He is accompanied by his rather witless servant Passepartout, who seemed to be his Sancho.  Is anyone else sick of the simpering servant trope?  To complicate things, Detective Fix is convinced that Phileas is a wanted robber and attempts to stall him at every step so that he has enough time to obtain a warrant.

Having seen the film (and having been alive for twenty+ years), I was quite familiar with the story.  Still, I wasn't prepared for how much I was going to dislike Phileas.  We are supposed to see him as some great hero, but his servant actually shows a lot more bravery throughout the novel than Mr. Dullsville.  His only solution was to throw money at whatever problem he was facing.  Why did he even do this in the first place?  Obviously he wasn't really interested in actually seeing the world.

Well, I can't continue with my Phileas rant, or I won't have time to rant about the racism in this book.  I mean, good lord. The scope of the novel's setting allowed Verne to insult so many civilizations that I have legitimately lost track.  Some allowances must be made for the time period, but still very cringeworthy.

This novel is quite similar to Journey To The Center of the Earth, so if you liked that, you are sure to enjoy this.  And I do have to give Vernes some credit, he had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  I'll go easy on it since it didn't bore me out of my skull.  Still, I am not that sorry to say goodbye to Jules Verne.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

The characters never actually fly in a hot air balloon in Verne's novel, but because of the scene in the film, the image is now on some of the covers.

Trailer for film, which won Best Picture.  Prepare for some mega white washing:


UP NEXT: The Enchanted Wanderer by Nikolai Leskov.  If the author's name is Nikolai, does that mean there will still be at least four characters named Nikolai?  I guess we will find out!

3 comments:

  1. Tee hee! I'm watching Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days travel documentary the BBC put together in the late '80s. It is very entertaining - and Palin's passepatout is 5 people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXRB5XrcYi8

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