This is a really solid translation of a really nice book. It's utterly readable for me, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
In what is a very odd case of cognitive dissonance, the plot of the Jackie Chan movie (which bears very little resemblance to the original here) actually makes more sense than the book. However, this is an entertaining travelogue with wacky characters and a crazy plot. Think of it as the "classics" version of a non-sensical thriller.
Finished this last night, was really good! I read a very short edition of this first. A children's edition and I liked it so I moved onto the proper version. Very good and to be honest it is not written like the usual classics as the writing captured me.
What an adventure!!! I'm glad I was challenged to read this book for August. I heard about this book but with no real urgency to read. And now I have met Phileas Fogg. Initially I thought him cold, methodical and passionless and then he made this seemly ridiculous bet for the sake of a bet. I chalked it up to eccentric Britishness. But the wanderlust in me is excited at the thought of traveling to these exotic lands, but Mr. Fogg seems unperturbed by the views. I am aghast and want to slap him silly. Until we reach India and he meets Anouda. From here on in, I start to like him and see this book differently. Like Passepartout, Anouda and poor Mr. Fix I too start to be mesmerized. I want him to triumph against the odds.
In the end, this has been my favourite book for the month of August. Why? I learn not to judge too quickly. From Mr. Fogg, I am impressed by his patience and how calm he remains in the face of odds stacked against him, how he places high value on the life of Aouda(oppressed by society she lives in and has to live up to crazy expectations) and his servant Passepartout. Lessons I definitely need to master.
I first read this book when I was growing up, and it was part of what sparked a life-long wanderlust in me. Imagine dashing around the world, speeding through countries on all modes of transport: trains, boats, elephants, and even a sled. Meeting people from different cultures, seeing others' traditions, and all the while taking on daring feats of heroism. That's what this book is for me. I listened to it on audiobook this time around, and Jim Dale is the very best choice for any English setting. If you didn't fall in love with his narration from the Harry Potter books, you are missing out. He adds an extra layer of special to this book.
In case you haven't read it, eccentric English millionaire Phileas Fogg takes a bet with his fellow chaps at London's Reform Club that he (or really anyone with the time and means) can travel around the world in 80 days.
Oh, you silly Reform Club members with nothing better to do than play Whist and make exorbitant bets with each other. Your life must be very different from mine. Fogg wagers 20,000 pounds that he will return by 8:45pm on Saturday, December 21, 1872. Fogg runs home, grabs his newly hired manservant Passeportout, and rushes off on his quest. Unbeknownst to them, a bank robber matching Fogg's description has robbed the Bank of England, and Detective Fix thinks he has his man in Fogg. He follows them on the trip around the world, deceiving both Passeportout and Fogg and causing delays along the way while he awaits his arrest warrant on British soil.
While racing across India, Passeportout and Fogg save a widowed princess names Mrs. Aouda from a ritual sacrifice and she joins them on the rest of their journey. Spoiler alert!
Two things to keep in mind: This book was first published in 1873, and a lot has changed in nearly 150 years. Verne's portrayal of other cultures was quite normal for the time period. As with any classic literature, you need to set aside how society functions now while reading. It's an interesting glimpse into how things have changed, and a great reminder that travel is one of the best ways to expand your mind and thinking. The more you are exposed to people and new cultures, the more you realize how very similar we are at our cores, and learn to celebrate our differences. Travel, explore, learn. Expand your horizons and your perspective. Also, never, ever watch this movie. It is terrible, and a travesty to one of my favorite books.