Illustrated by Paul Cox
The much-loved comedy classic, richly illustrated with exuberant drawings by Paul Cox.
Jerome K. Jerome’s incomparable anecdotes and descriptions of mishaps, from packing the hampers to George’s attempts at banjo playing (while Montmorency the dog howls steadily on) make this tale of three men boating on the Thames one of the funniest and best-loved books ever written. When Jerome wrote his most famous work in 1889 he was a struggling journalist and writer. As soon as it was published he became a literary success beyond his wildest dreams. His publisher printed so many copies he once said, ‘I often think that the public must eat them.’
Three Men in a Boat merrily captures the spirit of the age, but the humour at its heart has never tired or staled. Harris and George (and Montmorency) are characters as entertainingly recognisable today as they were in the Edwardian age, and certain passages are a particular joy to revisit: a disastrous attempt at cooking scrambled eggs; the stubborn tin of pineapple that meets a watery end; Harris’s mysterious conflict with an uncertain number of swans. Jerome also delights in numerous discursions, from exploring the history and local lore of riverside towns to relaying a seemingly endless store of humorous anecdotes.
‘Like settling in for a fireside chat with an eccentric great-uncle who has seen it all, done it all, but who’s still more ready to mock himself than others’
Paul Cox’s kinetic pen-and-ink illustrations are particularly suited to this tale of rivers, whisky and mischievous dogs, and this edition is filled with dozens of his inimitable sketches. The colourful endpapers also feature a lively map of the Thames drawn by Cox – complete with menacing swans – making this the perfect edition of a book that is as charming as the very act of messing about in boats.
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Review by scarr on 27th May 2017
"There are few books that cause you to break out laughing on public transport: this is one of them. Nominally a guide-book to accompany travel by boat up the Thames River, the inability of the author t..." [read more]