Okay, this is a funny story. I was organizing my reviews and adding new ones to my master review list. I was looking for my link of my last Classics Club review to my list but I couldn’t find it. And I realized I never actually wrote it!
So finally, here is my review of Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. This was a delightful book!
- This is my first book by Jules Vernes, and I really enjoyed it! I think I will add more of his books to my next Classics Club list.
- I have been into listening to classic audiobooks while I’m cooking and exercising lately. This was a great book to listen to because each chapter has a smaller story within it. And it’s easy to follow the action on the audiobook version. I should have used Audible. The app I used was free and not as good of a narration (plus it kept changing). But I enjoyed the story regardless.
- Verne wrote in French so this is a translation of his original text. I enjoy translations in general and the audiobook I listened was a fun one.
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne follows the adventures of two men who try to do the impossible–circle the globe in just 80 days. According to Goodreads, “One ill-fated evening at the Reform Club, Phileas Fogg rashly bets his companions £20,000 that he can travel around the entire globe in just eighty days – and he is determined not to lose. Breaking the well-establised routine of his daily life, the reserved Englishman immediately sets off for Dover, accompanied by his hot-blooded French manservant Passepartout. Travelling by train, steamship, sailing boat, sledge and even elephant, they must overcome storms, kidnappings, natural disasters, Sioux attacks and the dogged Inspector Fix of Scotland Yard – who believes that Fogg has robbed the Bank of England – to win the extraordinary wager. Around the World in Eighty Days gripped audiences on its publication and remains hugely popular, combining exploration, adventure and a thrilling race against time.”
The two main characters were enjoyable to follow in their adventures. I love how Passparteau is so passionate and floundering at times. I enjoyed the way the same man could save a woman from tribal sacrifice and also get stuck in an opium den. I loved Phineas Fogg’s determination and calmness. Nothing rattles this man! From buying an elephant to chartering a sailing boat to fighting indians in America, Fogg is always so logical and calm. It’s impressive. I was a bit frustrated that he was so hyper focused on his deadline that he rarely stopped to admire the beautiful, exotic locations he traveled through. I would love to travel more and I ached to see him not even stop to see the skyline or even go out to dinner in these varied cities. I do love how he gets a bit shaken at the end–proves that he is, in fact, human after all.
I knew that there were two protagonists going around the world together, but I didn’t know about the intriguing other characters in this novel. Inspector Fix makes me laugh and annoys me because he keeps following Phineas Fogg along his worldwide journey determined to arrest him. The coincidences were fun though! I also enjoyed Aouda’s quiet influence in the story. She shares quite a collection of experiences with Phineas Fogg and I enjoy how the book ends for her.
I really enjoyed the various settings and the different modes of transportation that Fogg and Passparteau use to navigate their journey around the world. I didn’t realize how long ago this book is set–before airplanes and modern automobiles! I was so amazed they made such a long journey within the time allotted–especially so long ago! There were so many twists and turns with the ride on an elephant, various ships, Indians attacking, the railroad, rescuing several people and even being arrested. The ending is a satisfying, surprising way to bring it all together. I did not expect the final twist! What a journey!
I was pleasantly surprised by all the historical details in this novel. It was interesting to read about the construction of the railroad in various countries, the geography of Asia and Eastern Europe, and the various monetary systems. We even get a few Mormon references when the railroad passes through Salt Lake City! I appreciate that this novel is set in a realistic historical timeline. It makes it feel like something that could really happen.
Overall, this is a lovely classic. I enjoy the characters and the lively adventures around the world. I think this would be a fun novel to read out loud as well. Not the most riveting classic–the details of the worldwide tour move linearly through the novel without too many gaping surprises. It’s not a book that I wanted to rush through or disregard all my other responsibilities to read. But I certainly enjoyed this classic!
What is your favorite Jules Verne novel?
Have you been to any of the locations that Phineas Fogg visits?