Sunday, January 15, 2023

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne -- Book Review

 


From Amazon: Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (equal to about £2 million in 2016) set by his friends at the Reform Club. It is one of Verne's most acclaimed works. The story starts in London on Tuesday, October 1, 1872. Phileas Fogg is a rich British gentleman living in solitude. 
At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000, from his fellow club members to complete such a journey within this time period. Accompanied by Passepartout, Fogg departs from London by train at 8:45 P.M. on October 2; in order to win the wager, he must return to the club by this same time on December 21, 80 days later.


My Review: I first read this in 2014 and it was really fun to revisit this one this week, almost nine years later. Now that I've seen a little of the world myself, it was even more enjoyable. I loved all the lessons in culture and geography and, of course recognized some places once they hit the US. It was a treat to read about them at the Green River station as my family and I went through there in April on our way to Oregon. I remember standing at a gas station and looking toward the railyard/station and thinking what a very large and complicated interchange that was for what seemed like a remote place. The "Victorian-ness" of it intrigued me, so it was especially fun to see it mentioned in the story.


The portion of the story taking place in America was pretty wild and unbelievable but I suppose that’s always how the British have seen us—-a little unstable and uncivilized. haha! What an adventure---I'm proud to see the most perilous part took place right here in America.

It was also interesting to see how so many things are different now. I love it when old stories reveal facts. For instance, the population of India then: 180 million; and now: 1.4 billion. It was mentioned that 50,000 people were already settled in Denver… now there are 2.9 million in the metro area. Bananas and mangoes were uncommon fruits and the description of mangoes was completely different than what I purchase in local stores. It was also sad to think of them having to stop for 12,000 buffalo that took hours to cross the path. The only buffalo here now are those on preserves.

This is truly one of my very favorite stories. I wonder when I'll pick it up again?

This book meets the following challenges: TBR ChallengeVictorian Reading ChallengeThe Alphabet Soup Challenge for the letter "A",  The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, and the Brighter Winter Reading Challenge for "read a book while waiting" and "read a book in a place where you don't normally do so". 

2 comments:

  1. I hope to get to this book later in my Classics Club list. I enjoyed the Pierce Brosnan movie, but haven't actually read the book. Now I'm more eager to get to it after reading your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, do! I've not seen the movie but from what I understand, it's very different from the book!

      Delete