Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather-forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks - not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.'s small fox-terrier Montmorency. "Three Men in a Boat" was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and proved so popular that Jerome reunited his now older - but not necessarily wiser - heroes in "Three Men on the Bummel", for a picaresque bicycle tour of Germany. With their benign escapism, authorial discussions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian 'clerking classes', both novels hilariously capture the spirit of their age.
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