©2007 Jerome K. Jerome (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Disabled and no longer able to drive, I live with my wife and two dogs. Reading (ok, listening) helps when I can't sleep or do much else!
This book is superbly read by Ian Carmichael, not Hugh Laurie as stated by another reviewer!
A terrifically well written and funny period piece - in no way slapstick, it's humour is based upon language and anecdote and I found it an easy and delightful book to listen to.
Please at least get the narrator right before commentating on a recording.
Having read this book quite a number of years ago and the remembrance of enjoyment, it was with hesitation that I took up the audio book. It's always a danger of having a poor impression, not because of the quality of the writing or reading but because it is not read in the same "voice" that you read to yourself in your head.
It was however a joy to "read". Ian Carmichael so very much captures the language and keeps the flow of the story running like a comfortable chat by the fire in the gentleman's club.
I was taken aback by some reviews that make comments such as "Slapstick and Sentimentality" when there was little if any of either. The story makes most of its humour from what is read between the lines and not said outright. The story teller is trying to embellish a story to make themselves look good and pass on advice but the audience (you and I) sees through this to what is really going on and it is this that is funny.
The joy of this book is in the language, the phrasing and the ability to create a picture precisely what is taking place and carry you along with it with a smile on your face.
People who write about Three Men and a Boat tend to use words like \"good humoured\" and \"gentle\". In one way, the terms apply-- Jerome K. Jerome's little downriver world is full of trivialities and trifles, and the harsh wind of reality barely intrudes. But in another way, terms like \"bad-humoured\" and \"rough\" might apply just as well. The three men of the title spend the entire journey bickering, and when they tell each other anectodes-- and this novel is composed more of anectodes and digressions than plot-- their anectodes are full of people bickering, too. Don't expect any subtle observations of character or any finely turned epigrams here. The humour is of the broadest kind, mostly variations on the theme of Sod's Law. This novel is the book-length version of a man tripping up on a banana peel.
Having said all that, it's not a bad book, and I'm sure many will enjoy it more than I did. Jerome's affection for the Thames and for boating shines through, and the English flair for inventing vivid, eccentric minor characters is on show. I'm thinking especially of the sexton who breaks into tears when he can't induce a visitor to look at any of his precious parish graves. It lacks the linguistic virtuosity of Wodehouse or the fine character-painting of Diary of a Nobody, but anybody who enjoys books of that genre has a pretty good chance of enjoying Three Men in a Boat. Tom Sharpe fans, on the other hand, should try something else.
Liked this a lot. Very eccentric old men taking a jolly. Found myself giggling as you pictured them, and Laurie is a fantastic reader.
Entertaining performance. Although I found the story lots of fun, it is dated and becomes a little laboured in its humour. A nice idea for a narrative but a little tedious for me as the story progressed. Beautifully performed and that does keep the listener interested. I'm glad I've experienced this story as it does give the reader a sense of time and place which is fascinating. The characters are humourous caricatures but I did not warm to them as much as I expected. I got the feeling the writer was playing for laughs rather than being funny after a while. Fun and interesting in its own way however. Worth a listen regardless of its being rather stereotypic.
I will listen to Three Men in a Boat many more times in the future. This book was written pre-1900, but I love it's timeless sense of humor. Many things have changed since then, but human nature is still the same. And Ian Charmichael does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life.
Montmorency, the dog, is a delight. Jay, the Point of View character is a great deal of fun as well.
I think that Ian Carmichael brings a feeling of reality and importance to George that I hadn't noticed when reading the paper version of the book.
"Victorian Comedy and Boating Trip"
It's verbose, but it's Victorian so one would expect that, and the funny parts are in the deadpan details. The reader makes me believe he is actually the story's narrator, a young man who wants very much to believe himself capable and dashing.
The narrator tells a very brief story with so many tangents that it runs on and on, and I giggled each time he recalled himself back to the main story line. Very funny, and well worth a listen with this narrator.
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