So Ellie signed me up for “Capital Classics” – a book club using the “Wordsworth Classics” as the basic pool for selecting classic fiction to read, kinda monthly.
The first book was Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and so I read it. Unfortunately, their first meeting was after “Say It Ain’t So” and so clearly I didn’t make it along. However, I did read the book. And after ordering the next book “The Good Soldier” I realised that I’ll miss that meeting too, due to WaM.
Anyway, so I read this book.
I’ve encountered a couple of other books by Verne previously. Basically hitting the SF classics: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which was read to me by my aunt Sharon Leigh when I was about 7 and visiting that part of my family in Malawi. I remember being fascinated and terrified, and that was my experience again when I re-read it in my early teens. Now it’s basically a vague outline in my mind. I’ve also read From The Earth To The Moon, again, when I was about 12. That made more of an impression: probably because it’s shorter. Loved it, but it is sad. And finally, I’ve read Around The World in 80 Days a couple of times, most recently in my first year at Uni. Loved it.
So I was basically favourably disposed to this book to start with. However, I found the language in it unaccountably difficult: everything is awkwardly phrased and problematic. Probably just a poor translation. I found the main character distant and unsympathetic: there was no real human I could care about at all. And compared to the exciting and varied landscapes of 80 days, I found the journey into the Earth to be flat and lifeless. Literally.
There were a few moments I liked, but on the whole, these factors combined to make it something of a chore. Now I’m intrigued but afraid to pick up one of the other Verne books I’ve read and see how it compares to my memories.