Last week, before skipping town, I finished, finally, Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome a classic comic story of three friends based on Jerome himself and two of his friends who go boating/camping along the Thames for a couple of weeks. I don’t know why it took me a while to finish this – I enjoyed it every time I opened it. It gives a charming picture of a Victorian vacation as well as being funny. There is no plot to speak of. The men get together, rent a boat and it’s just a description of what happens and what they see along the way with occasional digressions. I thought I had highlighted some passages, but Kindle Cloud Reader denies this, so here is a passage quoted in Wikipedia to give you an idea of his style. They are making stew for dinner. Montmorency is the dog.
I forget the other ingredients, but I know nothing was wasted; and I remember that, towards the end, Montmorency, who had evinced great interest in the proceedings throughout, strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air, reappearing, a few minutes afterwards, with a dead water-rat in his mouth, which he evidently wished to present as his contribution to the dinner; whether in a sarcastic spirit, or with a genuine desire to assist, I cannot say.
There are some sentimental and historical passages which are a bit tedious, but fortunately, not many and not too long.
Don’t look at the map too closely as it does contain spoilers. Not that there’s much to spoil, so maybe you won’t mind.
Years ago I read the Connie Willis novel which references this, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and enjoyed it a lot. Maybe worth a reread now.
I wondered about his name as who in their right mind would name a child Jerome Jerome? Surely, it’s a pen name, I hoped. It turns out his father was named Jerome Clapp and renamed himself Jerome Clapp Jerome and named his son after his new name with the difference being his middle name is Klapka after an exiled Hungarian general.
I intend to read more Jerome books at some point and I’m using this as my Comic Classic for Books and Chocolate‘s classics challenge.