AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (audio book read by Jim Dale)

LISTENINGLIBRARYAroundTheWorldInEightyDays500Jim Dale is a fabulous narrator, giving each character a distinct voice which lends even more colour to this already colourful story. It is amazing how the use of special effect sounds and the right kind of music can conjure up the scenes in my mind. What a versatile voice! There is no dull monotone here, no character beyond his vocal range.

When Passpartout and his master are in Hong Kong among the opium dens, I felt as if I was there alongside them. When they are trapped in Japan I almost felt a sense of panic and dread. The same sense of immediacy was present in India, Egypt and America. Jim Dale does an excellent job with the American characters too. As for the plot, mysterious Phileas Fogg, so phlegmatic and eccentric, sets out to win a bet against fellow members of his club, who believe it is impossible to circle the globe in just 80 days.

Accompanying him is his French valet Passpartout, who had only begun his employment that very day, and who was looking forward to a calm life of predictability.This tongue-in-cheek humor sets the tone for the entire story, which is filled with adventure, mishaps, and humorous irony. Verne’s take on British imperialism is interesting too. Fogg is beset by one obstacle after another, not the least of which is Inspector Fix, who doggedly follows Fogg believing he is the notorious criminal who robbed a London bank on the very day that Phileas Fogg set out on his adventure (all of which Fogg is totally unaware).

Will Phileas Fogg be able to overcome it all in time to make it back to London by 8:45 pm on December 21, the precise time at which he must appear in his club in order to win his bet?

Although the characters are little more than caricatures and their temperament is fixed, my critical faculties dissolve abruptly as I am swept up in Verne’s highly imaginative tale. It is easy to forgive him for the lack of character development. Hearing the steam train engines, the gunshots, the atmospheric music, and the emotion that Jim Dale puts into his delivery of every sentence makes this a winner all the way. At over seven hours, it’s an incredible achievement by one narrator.This is one I have listened to at least twenty times, and I recommend it if you want some enjoyable, lighthearted entertainment.

round-the-world-in-80-days

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