The Khao San Road, Bangkok - first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia. On Richard's first night there, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to "the Beach."
The Beach, as Richard comes to learn, is a subject of legend among the young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, wit...more
The Beach is compulsively readable because of several factors. First, the chapters are structured and trimmed into an expert lenght, ofte...more
Everything about this book is...more
GR friend Maciek recommended this book to me, and I highly recommend that you check out his most awesome review that does a brilliant job of capturing this book's strengths. As for me, I knew very little about it save from what I could vaguely remember from the movie that's over ten years old now.
It's hard for me to classify this novel as anything other than "an experience". Parts of it are fun and breezy, others dark and depressing. Still others surreal and uncomfortable. It has adventure. It...more
Believe it or not, despite the hints throughout about dark and terrible things to come, this novel doesn't really turn dark until around the last fifth.
Until then it's beautiful scenery, well-observed love triangles and petty dislikes, and a new traveller trying to get to, and then assimilate into, the hidden island paradise known as the beach. However, our boy, English narrator Richard, was originally given a map to the beach by an angry/disturbed guy he met in...more
You must grow up and live in the real world, complicated and unpleasant as it may be. Seems to me this is something every generation has to figure out for itself, with assistance or hindrance from various psychoactive substances.
Richard, age 21, goes to Thailand and finds his way to a hidden settlement on a secluded island that is supposed to be off-limits to tourists. The people there are enjoying an Edenic existence, getting nearly everything they need from the...more
What was it about? I'm not really sure. It feels like one of those books that are kind of infinitely interpretable. Every person who reads it may see something different in it. For my part, I didn't re...more
I've put off writing anything about this hoping that I'd be able to drag my weary disinterest through to the end of the novel...unfortunately that never occurred. Maybe it's because of having done the itinerant traveller thing, or maybe it was because the book felt too contrived, or maybe....I expected something else or something more. Whatever. This just didn't do it for me.
If you haven't backpacked through Asia, I guess this book could be an interesting read...and if you had, it might be chock...more
What I liked about The Beach were several things: I really enjoyed the way Garland wrote this story. For me, it was a realistic aspect of the way someone might think, speak, feel, and act. I enjoyed the realistic quality of the dialogue. To me, it didn't really seem forced, or trying too hard. For a first novel, I'm kind of left impressed....more
The voice of my generation, in a way. I really enjoy watching the world through this narrator's eyes, so much that I'm willing to follow him down a sinkhole of madness. What a beautiful demise to paradise.
Don't worry, not a spoiler alert. The narrator is fine in the end. In the movie version. How is the book different?
I dare you to read it and tell me for yourself.
The adaptation was all I knew of this story, and tha...more
The movie was watered down, warped, and completely missed the point Garland tried to make in his astonishingly succesful first novel.
For starters, Richard, the main character, is brown, English, and doesnt have sex with anybody. He's not Leo at all.
The first half of the book is incredible and really gets deep into the backpacking culture in Thailand, and is the best example of backpacker literature for our generation that I've yet seen.
The Beach was the catalyst for this experiment I've started, I couldn't believe that it'd been five years since I've read the thing. It was also the book I was most afraid wouldn't hold up. It's reputation has suffered since the awful Danny Boyle movie, not helped by the fact that Alex Garland answered the question "Would he be the great novelist of Generation X?" with a resounding "No!".
The Beach was one of those perfect time perfect place books. I read it...more
Other ways to describe it are: outstanding, profane and disturbing.
My only regret in reading this novel is that I never got around to it until now instead of when it was first published in 1997, as i...more
The only thing I knew about this story is that it was made into a movie with Leo DiCaprio and it got lukewarm reviews. I stayed away from it for that reason. If the movie is 1/10 as good as this novel, then I missed a treat.
Three world travelers have a map to a beach that is described as Eden. Feeling adventurous, they make the difficult journey there, and are soon...more
I became enveloped in the storyline very quickly, and found...more
You can be forgiven for being distracted by images of a young Leonardo diCaprio, fresh faced from ‘Titanic’, wandering around a glorious deserted beach in nothing but his shorts. Or have the AllSaints song (remember them?) playing in a loop in your head. But putting all this aside, ‘The Beach ‘ has more of a darker side than either of the distractions allow.
I, like so many others in this world, watched the film and then decided to read the book. Obviously...more
the only time i put the book down was when i had to do number one. and by then i realized that i was well on my way to pulling an all-nighter.
okay, so sue me for stating the obvious, but for me the book is about adventure. and hopes. and dreams.
about to what extent one is willing to pursue them. and once those things become reality, what is one prepa...more
I want books to take me someplace I've never been, and I don't want to ever go to the beach. Like other utopian settings, this one has a ro...more
It's fantastic if only because it captures perfectly that young, angsty travel vibe that I jealously missed out on.. I didn't travel the world with nothing to my name, in search of the best new secret spot, and tire of the endlessly hip-then-discovered third world cities. Gar...more
Alex Garland is a very eloquent and studied writer, and the editing is top-notch. I can see why it's a cult classic, it definitely expounds on a traveler's idea of the perfect getaway.
I highly recommend this book, a great read which I am getting read...more
I find its one of those few books where you can just immerse yourself into the character and feel the same fear, joy and hope they experience.
I would love to leave a longer review but it was so long ago. I will endevour to re-write once i have finished my second read!
You can also find my reviews here:
http://lilythenovelnerd.wordpress.com/ (tho they are alot more colourful)
Garland is the son of political cartoonist Nick (Nicholas) Garland. He attended the independent University College School, in Hampstead, London, and the University of Manchester, where he studied art history.
His first novel, The Beach, was published in 1996 and drew on his experiences as a backpacker. The novel quickly became a cult c...more