NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA

by Jules Verne



"The year is 1866 and the Pacific Ocean is being terrorized by a deadly sea monster. The U.S. government dispatches marine-life specialist Pierre Aronnax to investigate aboard the warship Abraham Lincoln. When the ship is sunk by the mysterious creature, he and two other survivors discover that the monster is in fact a marvelous submarine -- the Nautilus -- commanded by the brilliant but bitter Captain Nemo. Nemo refuses to let his guests return to land, but instead taking them on a series of fantastic adventures in which they encounter underwater forests, giant clams, monster storms, huge squid, treacherous polar ice and -- most spectacular of all -- the magnificent lost city of Atlantis!" (From the back of the Barnes & Noble Classics edition.)

So, Captain Nemo and I finally meet! In addition to discovering that Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is indeed the thrilling adventure that it is always made out to be, I learned that "twenty thousand leagues" is the distance that is traveled in the Nautilus during the story, not a depth it explores. I also found out this is the second book in a trilogy by Jules Verne which begins with In Search of the Castaways and ends with The Mysterious Island. I was going to reflect on the myriad questions I had once I finished this book, such as, "Who is Captain Nemo anyway and where did he come from?" and "What's up with all his antisocial behavior?", because the answers are not at all clear by the end, but apparently some of this is addressed in the other books. I'll have to get to them at some point and see if I can fill in some blanks.

I will have to say, though, that the mysterious escape from the maelstrom bugged me. One minute the Nautilus and all on board are being sucked into the void, the next, Professor Arronax wakes up in a fishing shack along with his two cohorts, how he got there and the fate of Capt. Nemo and company, both unknown. I bought into all the craziness up to that point. If this novel had been written recently, I'd call that a cheap way out. But it's Jules Verne and there's another book after this, so I'll let it go. :-)



15 comments:

Jenn said...

I totally agree with you on the ending. I recently just finished this book and I could not believe that after all that planning it took 2 pages and a blackout to end it! Maybe reading the next book will help ease the pain. :)

Heather J. said...

I LOVE Jules Verne! So glad you enjoyed this book. I read The Mysterious Island without ever reading 20,000 Leagues (I did see the movie though) and I can say that it WILL answer your questions, but it will take until the end of the book to do so. In fact, I should probably warn you that Nemo is not the focus of the book by any means. If you want to check out my spoiler-free review, here's the link.

Hmm, maybe I'll have to put more Verne on my reading list for next year ...

Lezlie said...

Jenn ~ It was weird, wasn't it? Overall though, I really enjoyed the story. I had no idea it was part of a trilogy, and I look forward to the other two books. According to Heather, we need to read The Mysterious Island.

Heather ~ Thanks! I'm going to check out your review now!

Lezlie

bermudaonion said...

I think my son read this years ago and enjoyed it. I think I've always avoided it because I thought it was kind of science fictiony.

Lezlie said...

Bermuda Onion ~ It kind of is. What is really cool about it is that he predicts some of the technology that is now commonly used. Some of the parts that were so thrilling when it was written lose a little of the edge now because those things have actually been done.

Lezlie

Petunia said...

I haven't read it yet but I always mean to. I wish I had a magical time-stopping device so I could get to all those books I mean to.

Lezlie said...

Petunia ~ I hear you there. Either that or we suddenly become independently wealthy so we don't have to spend all that perfectly good reading time at work. :-)

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

This is on one of my personal challenges lists (the Books made into Disney movies one) but I still haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'll have to make sure to read them in order though.

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I wish I'd have known about the trilogy, because I would have done the same.

Lezlie

Andi said...

Wow, I don't think I knew this was part of a series either. I have it on my shelves at my mom's house, so I'll have to tackle it soon. I'm craving classics.

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ If a Lit teacher didn't know it was part of a series, now I for sure don't have to feel too silly for having no clue. :-)

Lezlie

Terri B. said...

Ah, yet another classic I haven't yet gotten around to reading. I did not realize it was part of a trilogy.

Jeane said...

I read this as a teen and thought it was a great adventure story, with all those fascinating marine animals (were some of them made up?) too. I don't remember the ending very clearly. And I had no idea it was part of a trilogy! I actually have The Mysterious Island on my shelf, but didn't know the two were related. Now I'll have to look for the first one, and then read them in sequence someday.

Rebecca Reid said...

I read one Jules Verne and I didn't think it was fantastic but it was definitely entertaining. Sounds like this one was plenty fun!! Thanks for the review.

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ I'm really slow about these classics so many people read as children. I never even saw the movie!

Jeane ~ I don't think any of the animals were made up. Well, the giant squid maybe. ;-) But honestly, I don't know. The first book in the trilogy seems like the hardest to get a hold of.

Rebecca ~ The only other Verne I've read was Journey To The Center of the Earth. I liked this one better.

Lezlie