Some months ago, I purchased several books in French language in order to practice it. Among them I included a couple of Jules Verne, one of them being “Le Tour du monde en 80 jours” (“Around the world in 80 days“), published in 1873.
I was more or less acquainted with the story due to having watched back when I was a child in the 80s the animated TV series “Around the World with Willy Fog“, a Spanish and Japanese production in which the characters were played by animals (a lion, a dog, a cat, a mouse, a fox…). I loved that series. On the contrary, I don’t recall having ever watched the movies from 1956 or 2004, therefore when reading the book vivid images from the animated characters came continuously to my mind.
The plot of the story is rather simple: Willeas Fog, a character about whom not much is known, bets with his colleagues of the Reform Club in London that he is able to travel around the world in 80 days, and so he does embark himself in such endeavor with his assistant, Passepartout (“Rigodon” in the TV series).
A the same time, there is an ongoing investigation of a robbery of the Bank of England which makes a police investigator, Fix (Dix in the TV series), to follow Fog all along the trip (as he is considered a suspect), waiting for an authorization coming from England to arrest him before he evades justice. The reader is conflicted by the suspicion laid upon Fog, as all the acts of the character in the story describe an orderly, honest, compassionate person; even if not much is known about him, his profession, origins or his past.
Several stories occur to the trio along the way that takes them to Paris, Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan and United States and these help to get to know a bit those different countries and its traditions. As the book draws to a close, the tension is increased…
… and there I leave my review in order to not spoil the book for future readers.
I marked a couple of passages which I liked (in French)…
“L’imprévu n’existe pas”, Willeas Fog.
“Les passeports ne servent jamais qu’à gêner les honnêtes et à favoriser la fuite des coquines”, agent Fix.
“Quant à voir la ville, il n’y pensait même pas, étant de cette race d’Anglais qui font visiter par leur domestique les pays qu’ils traversent”.
“- […] Vous avez garde l’heure de Londres, qui retarde de deux heures environ sur Suez. Il faut avoir soin de remettre votre montre au midi de chaque pays (Fix).
– Moi ! toucher à ma montre ! jamais ! (Passepartout)
-Eh bien, elle ne sera plus d’accord avec le soleil.
– Tant pis pour le soleil, monsieur ! C’est lui qui aura tort !”
“Il ne voyageait pas, il décrivait un circonférence”.
“- […] Mais vous êtes un homme de cœur ! (sir Francis Cromarty).
– Quelquefois, quand j’ai le temps” (Fog).
I recommend the book as I very much enjoyed the about 10 hours that took me to read it. And I could not finish this review without sharing a video of one of the chapters of that TV series of my childhood (in Spanish):
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