Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne

First published in 1873, Around the World in Eighty Days is Jules Verne's most popular work. It's the story of Phileas Fogg, an enigmatic, unflappable Englishman who bets a group of his wealthy peers that he can circumnavigate the earth in eighty days. Accompanied by his bewildered valet Passepartout (and pursued by a detective who incorrectly believes Fogg to be a notorious bank robber), Fogg sets out on his risky journey, encountering countless dangers—as well as a beautiful Indian princess named Aouda, who inexplicably falls in love with him—along the way.

I won't sugarcoat it for you: you need to suspend nearly all of your disbelief to appreciate this story. The only plausible thing about it is the modes of travel, and even that's pretty far-fetched. The characters, their relationships, and their motivations make very little narrative sense. (Why would the imperturbable Fogg make such a ridiculous wager? What does Aouda see in him? And why doesn't poor Passepartout tell Fogg to take a long walk off a short pier, like, ten pages in?) But if you can shut off the logical part of your brain and let the “Whee! Adventure!” part run free, Around the World in Eighty Days features a blazing pace, a humorous style, and a wild plot that has long established it as one of the most entertaining classics on the planet.
Posted by: Julianka


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