As a confirmed Hyperchondriac as well as a born again Englishman I can quite happily say that this is a bible for anyone looking to truly understand the complexities of the British psyche. All our foibles, our delibertaions, our occassional skirmishes with sentimentality, our gentle romantic philosophising and our love for nature are laid out in this incredible masterpiece of Victorian literature.
Having suffered for many years with health anxiety, a condition which doesn't prompt much sympathy from non sufferers "Three Men In A Boat" offered truly profound consolidation. Jerome K Jerome encapsualtes the neurosis of the condition and the hilarity of its self propigating nature within the first 3 pages. It's the funniest three pages in the whole of world literature. It never fails to lift my spirits and help me put my phantom "conditions" into perspective.
As the three men embark on what should be a relatively straightforward boating expedition events turn out to become an odyssey quite as perilous as any greek myth or adventure story.
But it's the serene musings on nature that I find most extraordinary. The novel is not wholly comic, there is great profundity offered here also and that is what helps it beyond being just an amusing commentary on bumbling english folk, messing around on river banks.
In fact, riverbanks always reminds me of that other great English classic Kenneth Graheme's "The Wind In The Willows" with its lyrical passages that encapsulate a similar spirit. Toad, Ratty and Mole would not seem out of place in this world of idle romanticism and tomfoolery.
A perfect double bill then. Both books offer us a nature on a page and what a lot of pages there are to enjoy in these odes to Mother Earth.
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