Saturday, December 19, 2009

20000 Leagues Under the Sea

The other day I was looking for an unread book to begin from my book shelf and picked up 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. I inherited a fish named Jules once. He was a lovely and lively goldfish who seemed to actually respond when I watch him. So I have been intrigued by his namesake ever since. The original manuscript was composed in French. The translation I am reading by Walter James Miller was completed in 1966. I have since discovered a newer translation, but am unwilling to forgo Mr. Miller’s verbose inclination.

Now, I happen to enjoy the sci-fi genre. I have always enjoyed science fiction in books and movies. I might have been the only 7 year old girl in the world with E. T. the Extraterrestrial bed linens. I do however tend to expect action in my science fiction. 20,000 Leagues starts slow and at page 143 has not picked up the pace. If you want action, intensity, and a plot that is quick paced, do not start this book, it will not deliver those three items. However, if you want rich descriptions of the ocean depths, the insides of the Nautilus, and Professor styled assessment of the characters and events of the book , definitely check out this book. Find a good translation and settle in for such gems as, “A wall of Superb rocks, in an imposing mass, rose before us, a heap of gigantic blocks, an enormous steep granite shore, forming dark grottoes, but offering no surfaces up which one could climb.”

I am leaving this description filled verbosity and moving on to other books in my holiday stack. At this point I would give this book a 3 of 5. Worth coming back to when nothing better is on my stack, or when I am in need of word pictures painted. Has anyone finished the book? Does the pace ever change? Is this highly adjectival narrative typical of Jules Verne?

1 comment :

  1. I have never read Jules Verne, I don't exactly know why (I tended to chose famous authors that I had heard about over and over and this book would have fit the bill.) I don't really know if he gets less verbose.

    I do tend to speed read and if an author gives long descriptions, I skim over them. In Jean Aul's books, I would skim paragraphs at a time. Same with James Mitchner.