Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne

A French marine biologist named Aronnax narrates his journey to capture a mythical sea creature called a narwhal. What he and his shipmates discover is that the creature doesn’t exist. Instead they find a submarine call the Nautilus, which has been created secretly and travels around the world beneath the surface of the water. The sub’s Captain, a man who calls himself Nemo, tells his new captives that they must remain on the Nautilus so they won’t have a chance to revel his secret to the world.

I love the premise, but the execution didn’t work for me. There are so many details that’s the plot gets lost in the minutia. Verne was certainly a visionary, but he must have been on some oceanic kick while writing this one. The descriptions of each individual sea creature go on for pages and it was incredibly hard to stay interested.

The amazing thing about the book is that it was published in 1870, long before submarines of the Nautilus’ stature were invented. I also thought it was interesting that the 20,000 leagues in the title refer to how far they travel in the sub. I always thought it was talking about how deep they went. Sadly these tidbits weren’t enough to really make the book work for me. I don’t regret reading it, because sometimes I’m just curious about classics, but I wouldn’t read it again.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Well, we do appreciate the service you have provided. Classic or not, I have no interest whatsoever in reading this!

Kristi said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't like this. I read it in when I was a teenager, and all that I remember was that it was incredibly boring. I wondered if I should give it another try, but based on your review, I think I'll pass.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I read it for the Victorian Literature Challenge, but I wish I'd picked something else. I guess they can't all be winners.

She said...

I read his The Mysterious Island and wasn't too impressed. I've wanted to try him again, but maybe not with this one, huh?

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

She - I haven't read that one, but Around the World in 80 Days was fun. Maybe try that one.