(P)2003 CSA Telltapes Ltd
Three Men in a Boat is an all-time classic, and one that has entertained my whole family for decades. We first heard it from my father's reading it to us, and then via a tape borrowed time and time again from the mobile library. I don't know how Hugh Laurie manages to read it without collapsing into fits of mirth (or perhaps he did and they had to cut hours out of the recording?) but he has the perfect voice and delivery for the perfect English period memoir. One step down the social ladder from Bertie Wooster, Jerome K Jerome is nevertheless an upper-class idler, with too much time on his hands and a dry humour that will appeal to many. Its only fault is an occasional tendency to lapse into very purple prose, but we can forgive him anything for such classic memories as those of the delightful Uncle Podger.
Hugh Laurie's skill is to be the character whose words he's reading, and his ability to pick up on the classic, dry English understatement in this book is masterful. I didn't realise how pompous yet drole Harris was until listening to this version. This is flawless reading, timed to perfection, nuanced, subtle, funny, always appropriate, a joy to listen to. I was disappointed when I realised the last sentence had been read, and would almost have started again from the beginning if I didn't have a list of titles to work through. Couldn't recommend this more for anyone who wants to be taken back to the late 19th century, with its slower pace of life, and time for 'strolling' down the street (or river) with friends.
Oh, how I love this! Quite possibly my favourite audiobook, Hugh Laurie has just the right combination of upper class twit and wistfulness in this reading. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It could only be improved by being the unabridged version, so as to have even more to enjoy.
The Thames boasts many bridges as have cut short pleasant riverbank wanderlust many a time, but Laurie makes the crossover between the rough and eddies in this choppy edit with an almost imperceptible effortlessness of narrative flow.
Three Men on the Bummel is the sequel of sorts which includes the Thames's Germanic cousin, the Rhine, but has more angry rowing over cycles than cycles of rowing aquatic.
His tone embodies the breezily bungling nature of the tome as he swans through the work in a third of the time whilst yet seemingly maintaining that 'unbroken loveliness' Jerome prided the verily verdant reach of Cookham Deep Dean for. A charming addition to the unabridged version also available.
It's never been a headache to hear this in one sitting... In fact, sitting rather eased my housemaid's knee! ;)
Very generous of Amazon to publicize lesser rivers ;)
"Not as Hilarious as I Was Led to Believe"
by bookloving friends who recommended it. Three bumblers (and a dog) decide to take a barge trip down the Thames and run into a series of mishaps and misadventures. Hugh Laurie's superb narration makes it somewhat worth listinging to.
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