The Green Ray by Jules Verne

It has been way too long since I read some Verne! My brother gave me this book for Christmas and I was delighted to find another of Verne’s books set in Scotland, and as a bonus, set in places I have visited.

This is a new translation by Karen Loukes published by Luath Press and it is a well laid out book with numerous period illustrations (from the 1882 edition of the book) and an afterword which discusses this book amongst Verne’s other works. This is largely a romance and a dose of travel writing woven in. This indeed was a journey Verne took himself in his steam yacht.

There’s no advanced technology or space travel here as Miss Campbell and her two uncles head out in search of titular green ray which may rarely be glimpsed at sunset. Two suitors are met along the way. More like other novels by the same author, the events of the book take place on water as they explore the west coast of Scotland and the islands. The ending heads more into adventure territory where Verne excels. I shall avoid saying any more to avoid spoilers.

I really enjoyed this book – certainly a little lighter than some other of Verne’s works but not shallow. The romance drives the story in a natural fashion and the ‘travel writing’ forms a great backdrop. This novel is certainly of its time in some ways, but this is a tale modern readers will enjoy too. Already starting to think which Verne book to read next – barely touched the 60+ novels he wrote.