Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne and translated by Jordan Stump

Looking for a classic to read, I picked up The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, translated by Jordan Stump. Although I'd never heard of this book, since it was written by Jules Verne & since the back of the book claims that some consider it to be his masterpiece, I decided to let it fill my desire for a classic & started reading.

The book follows the lives of a handful of men & a teenage boy after their hot air balloon drops them on a deserted island. The group is very knowledgeable & hardworking & so is able not only to survive in their new environment but to live an enjoyable life with many unexpected amenities. The author goes into some detail about the science & mechanics of how these amenities are achieved on the island.

I liked the characters & enjoyed their camaraderie. (I admit, though, that the group's complete & often-vocalized trust in the engineer of the group was a little irritating.) I also found it enjoyable to imagine the places on this imaginary island & the small world that the group had created for themselves.

A warning: This translation by Jordan Stump includes an introduction by Caleb Carr. This introduction includes the solution to the mystery that is mentioned in the book's title so if you don't like spoilers, don't read Carr's introduction until after you've finished the book. I wish someone had warned me!

Monica Boyer

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