AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS by Michael Palin


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As the title suggests, this tells of an attempt to duplicate the glorious voyage described in Jules Verne's classic novel. However, in place of Phileas Fogg now stands (or sweats, hobbles, and frets) Michael Palin of Monty Python fame; in place of Passepartout, we have a five-man BBC crew. In many ways the two adventures run parallel, as Palin follows Fogg's route as closely as possible through Italy, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, and the US. Both expeditions depart from London's Reform Club--although Palin & Company chug along with shortwave radio and videocamera in tow. Despite this high-tech advantage, Palin actually lags behind Fogg until the last leg, mostly because sea transport has regressed terribly in the last century, and so the suspense of the original is retained in this rerun. Unlike Verne, however, Palin goes for the funnybone. He tours Venice from a rubbish barge, wonders whether Egyptians ""modify their cars to connect the accelerator to the horn,"" warily eyes ""Beware Camel"" signs in the Saudi desert, sips snake-bladder soup in Shanghai, sleeps in a ""pathologically clean"" capsulehotel in Japan, notices that Americans are ""twice as noisy as anyone else in the world,"" and suggests that 80-day circumnavigations ""become a recognized pastime, then a sport and who knows, eventually an Olympic event."" The humor, as these snippets indicate, is inoffensive, ticklish, without any deep belly laughs. Palin proves a genial host, happily befuddled, bringing to mind an alternative title: Around the World in a Daze. . .

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Parkwest