cover image Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days

Michael Palin. BBC Books, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-563-20826-6

For a TV series, the BBC dispatched Monty Python comedian Palin to travel the world in 80 days, following in the steps of Phileas Fogg--Jules Verne's hero in the novel Around the World in 80 Days --who made the voyage in 1872. Palin's notes on the journey are collected here in chronological order. Forbidden to use modern transport, he made the trip by means available to his predecessor--train, boat, camel, etc.--and handily crossed the globe in the time allotted, passing through Italy, Greece, Egypt, India, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the U.S. The results in prose are improvisational, amiable, anecdotal and yet curiously flat--Palin's characteristic wit is missing. Photos are mostly conventional tourist shots, though a few color glimpses of Shanghai and other sights are vivid. (Oct.)