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Summary

Exclusively from Audible

In this comedic masterpiece, three young men, increasingly given to thoughts of hypochondria, decide to embark on a journey along the river Thames.

Confident that the fresh air and daily exercise will grant them immunity from a myriad of illnesses and diseases, they pack up their frying pans, toothbrushes, food and canine companion, Montmorency, and set off on an unexpected adventure.

As the men come up against hilarious and often avoidable obstacles on their journey from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford, Jerome K. Jerome offers listeners a unique look back at the joys of youthful naivety, comradery and playfulness.

Supremely English in nature, Three Men in a Boat, paved the way for the later works of authors such as James Thurber, PG Wodehouse and Nick Hornby.

Based on a real-life experience, Jerome's comic approach to this story transcends the passage of time as his themes and subjects remain universal. An explorer of new ideas and customs, Jerome K. Jerome developed great insight along his travels throughout Europe and the sheer plausibility of his stories serves to enhance the comedic effect of his writing.

As an international best-selling title, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat was met with such immediate success that it has never been out of print since its publication in 1889.

Narrator Biography

Ian Carmichael was a veteran comedy actor, best known for his roles in Private's Progress, I'm All Right Jack, Brothers in Law and School for Scoundrels.

He played Dorothy L. Sayers' gentleman detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, on television and radio and his audiobook narration of these stories can be found on the Audible website.

Ian was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and after a brief stint in the Royal Armoured Corps during the Second World War, he graced stage, screen and radio for over 50 years.

He was and remains a national treasure and was appointed an OBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

©2007 Jerome K. Jerome (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"[Narrator Ian] Carmichael, the quintessential English gentleman, captures perfectly the delicious inanity of our intrepid heroes' conversations and the bemusement of the locals they meet along the way. He conveys beautifully Jerome's evocative, almost wistful, descriptions of Thames-side towns whose august historical pasts illustrate the glory that was Britain. This delightful performance crystallizes the author's humor and vision and is sure to enchant its audience." ( AudioFile)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Review of this version of the book!

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A very Victorian boat trip

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The River

great Performance, from one of the great English comic actors, one of my top books brilliantly done

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Superb comic novel.

One of the very best comic novels, brilliantly narrated by Ian Carmichael. Have listened to the performance twice, and will do so again .

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    3 out of 5 stars

Slapstick and Sentimentality

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.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Aged badly

The book has aged badly and the narrator doesn't make it better with his colonial accent.

Didn't make it very far in the book as the slapstick humor wasn't really doing it for me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator Hugh Laurie fantastic!

Liked this a lot. Very eccentric old men taking a jolly. Found myself giggling as you pictured them, and Laurie is a fantastic reader.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerri C
  • 04-12-11

Timeless humor

Would you listen to Three Men in a Boat again? Why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Montmorency, the dog, is a delight. Jay, the Point of View character is a great deal of fun as well.

Which character ??? as performed by Ian Carmichael ??? was your favorite?

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Virginia Waldron
  • 05-07-08

Great Narrator

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms.
  • 20-08-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful