Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: "A Journey to the Centre of the Earth" by Jules Verne


I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of Jules Verne's "A Journey to the Centre of the Earth."

A very well-written book, told from the point of view of Henry, Professor Hardwigg's nephew. They embark on a journey which sees them enter the crater of Mount Sneffels in Iceland, roam around in the interior of the earth, before exiting out of another volcano crater in Italy.

The story revolves almost exclusively around three main characters: 1) Professor Hardwigg - mineralogist, obstinate, determined, maybe a little crazy but ultimately right; 2) Henry - the Professor's nephew, analytical, level-headed; 3) Hans, the Icelandic guide who accompanies the Professor and Henry on their journey. Hans is perfectly disciplined, reserved and an immaculate handyman.

The characters compliment each other nicely and the narrative and dialogue flows smoothly throughout the story.

The three characters endure a few fascinating encounters with different sorts of weather and environment conditions below the earth, along with huge plants and animals and seas. The most interesting part of the story for me also turned out to be the most frustrating. 

Professor Hardwigg and Henry discover a cemetery of human bones and see in the distance another HUMAN living in the interior of the earth. Disappointingly for the reader, they freaked out and ran away and nothing more was mentioned of this. It seems that Jules Verne had this immense idea and then kind of backed out of it, and didn't quite know what to do from henceforth.

After that encounter the story rapidly closed up right at the time when I was just getting in to it and expecting the three of them to find a way to the very centre of the earth.

One more thing that irritated me was their exit from underground to ground level. Henry kind of passed out as they were accelerating on a man-made raft balancing on rushing lava, so as he is the one telling the story, he wrote how he didn't remember anything after passing out until they were lying on the side of a volcano in Italy! Man, that frustrated me so bad!

But nevertheless, it was a great read, very worthwhile and I definitely recommend this classic if you haven't as yet opened up its pages and joined the great adventure it is.

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