I chose to do an in-depth article on Around the World in 80 Days mostly as an excuse to watch the 1956 movie again. But of course I needed to start with the text itself. I won’t go into a lengthy synopsis here because I do in my “Dive Deeper” post. Let’s skip straight to the review of the book.
What I thought of the book Around the World in 80 Days
I really expected to adore this book and it had all the makings of greatness. But all and all, I’d say this one isn’t a must-read for a Steampunk, or a Jules Verne fan. The voice of the narration is inconsistent and swings between third-person omniscient and totally opaque. This is especially true when it comes to Detective Fix who pursues Fogg on suspicion of bank robbery.
I also felt like the real meat of the adventure often got treated as a footnote. There was very little description during what should have been exciting parts. At the same time, the reader must sit through several pages of Mormon history and detailed itineraries of exactly where their train is stopping. For instance, Passepartout is taken hostage by the Sioux during the trek across America. All we know if the daring rescue is that Aouda and Fix paced a lot while waiting.
There are definitely gaps that would be fun for an author to try to fill, and indeed Philip Jose Farmer attempted to do just that in his novel The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, which is the next book I will review.