AROUND THE WORLD IN SEVENTY-NINE DAYS by Cam Lewis

AROUND THE WORLD IN SEVENTY-NINE DAYS

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A rip-roaring, two-fisted account of Lewis's bid to best the 80 days it took Phileas Fogg to circle the globe. Whereas Verne's character took all modes of transportation available, Lewis--a trophy-laden, world-class sailor, as he often reminds readers--confined himself to a sleek, monstrous (though fragile), wind-driven catamaran: cold and leaky, perhaps, but fast. (In typical hairy-chested fashion, Lewis notes that these multihulls are often referred to as ``biker boats for speed freaks.'') A good amount of text is given to the parallels in the journeys of Fogg and Lewis, to Lewis's life history, and to the seemingly endless number of sailing firsts on record. But the story turns on the sheer derring-do Lewis brings to his, and his four French shipmates', quest: how they handled 50-foot seas, survived the obligatory hurricane off Cape Horn, and weathered the crises of confidence that attend such moments. (Just as daunting, if less romantic, is their struggle with skin rot, frayed tempers, and exhaustion.) Surprisingly appealing are the scholarly digressions into nautical time and distance, latitude, and such minutiae as why navigators ought never sit athwart ship; these facts give a balance to all the manly deeds. But risk-taking is what this story is about, and its virtues are extolled time and again by Lewis and coauthor Levitt (a historian of the America's Cup), with praise heaped on the French for their pursuit of extreme sports, frequent recourse to Shakespeare's ``bear affliction till it do cry out itself,'' and the glories obtained by living a life on ``the edge.'' Then again, Lewis and his cohorts beat Fogg to the finish (they also trounced the actual record of 109 days), so maybe a little bombast is the guy's due. (maps)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-31326-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Delta
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1996




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