Phileas Fogg is an extraordinary man. He is rarely daunted by the potholes in his way and equipped with a steadfast determination, attains what he so wishes. During a game of whist, a casual conversation turns to a challenge which sends Mr. Fogg on an adventure around the world within eighty days. Needless to say, his carefully planned trip doesn’t come to pass without trouble. A grave misunderstanding and treacherous weathers question the probability of him winning the wager. Around The World in Eighty Days is a quick, delightful read of Mr. Fogg and his companion’s experiences in changing regions and clime.

There appears to be many editions of this text, and I happened to pick a short abridged version. Usually I wouldn’t read abridged versions of classics but keeping in mind, the plot of this novel, I feel that the 120 paged edition was more appropriate and not draggy. It is fun enough that you are constantly wondering if Mr. Fogg’s overconfidence would cost him dearly. Afterall twenty thousand pounds for a bet is far too much. The protagonist is shown to be extremely stiff, lacking the expression of basic emotions which make us human. He seems not only detached from his surroundings but also very mechanical in his mien. Along the way, he makes certain acquaintances who stick with him till the end. Its a wonder how they dealt with his personality. His relationship with one such acquaintance, his counterpart to be precise, sounded flaky, perhaps because of the absence of any history or sound reason. Passepartout, his servant, is a fickle character, who only comes to his senses towards the end. There are a few cultural references (of India) that I found easier to understand. The end was fitting to some extent, not very apparent/obvious hence a good way to wrap up the text. The writing too was good, characteristic of classics. I enjoyed it but didn’t absolutely love it. Will definitely try something else by Jules Verne.

Ratings – 3 stars on 5.

Meera

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