Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finished: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Title: Around the World in Eighty Days
Series: Voyages Extraordinaires
Author: Jules Verne
Genre: Adventure
Pages: 230
Publisher: Pierre-Jules Hetzel
Year pub: 1873
Rating: ★★★★☆

I can honestly say that I never expected to enjoy Around the World in Eighty Days as much as I did. It's really a testament to the writing chops of Jules Verne that a 144 year old adventure novel still holds up today.

What I loved about AWED is just the premise, the idea of someone would make a bet on the spot to travel around the world in less than three months and does it while being wrongly pursued by a police detective for a crime they didn't commit. That Phileas Fogg globe trots while being completely unaware that he's being pursued just serves to make the overall story even better.

Then there's Passepartout, Fogg's poor, put upon man-servant who, first day on the job, gets Shanghaied into this mess. You have to feel sorry for the poor chap because he took the job in full expectation of having a quiet, sedate life and Fogg tosses that right out the window.

Really, the only complaint I have with Around the World in Eighty Days is that it shows it's age a little in its depiction of non-white civilizations. It's nowhere close to being even half racist, let alone full blown racist, but the way Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Native Americans are depicted shows a hint of some of the prejudiced views white Europeans had back then. Having said that, it won't foul up your reading of the book, but it might cause an eyebrow to rise.

As an aside, this was only the second work of classic literature that I've ever read, the first being The Prisoner of Zenda, as well as the oldest that I've read. I don't know why, but I've never been able to get into classic lit before, so this is a promising sign that my horizons may be broadening and I'm looking forward to reading more of Jules Verne's works as well as other classics in the near future.

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