Three Men in a Boat remains one of the best-loved and most entertaining comic novels ever penned.
Jerome Klapka Jerome was born in Walsall, Staffordshire, in 1859 but was brought up and educated in London. He started work as a railway clerk at fourteen, and later was employed as a schoolmaster, actor and journalist. He published two volumes of comic essays and in 1889 Three Men in a Boat. This was an instant success. His new-found wealth enabled him to become one of the founders of The Idler, a humorous magazine which published pieces by W. W. Jacobs, Bret Harte, Mark Twain and others. In 1900 he penned a sequel, The Men on a Bummel, which followed three protagonists on a walking tour through Germany. Jerome wrote a number of plays, the most famous being The Passing of the Third Floor Back, which is the morality tale set in a boarding-house where a charismatic Christ-like figure transforms the lives of its inhabitants. Jerome married in 1888 and had a daughter. He served as an ambulance driver on the Western Front in World War I and died in 1927.
There are a few seriously funny books that remain great for all
time. Three Men in a Boat is one of these. -- Robert McCrum
* Guardian *
Ultimately, Three Men in a Boat is a study of friendship, human foibles and forgiveness. Returning to the book is 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. -- Mark Mills * Independent *