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Are You Experienced?

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,435 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
A hilarious novel of a young man’s misadventures in India—from a fresh new voice

Liz travels to India because she wants to find herself. Dave travels to India because he wants to get Liz into bed.

Liz loves India, hugs the beggars, and is well on her way to finding her tantric center. Dave, however, realizes he hates Liz, and has bad karma toward his fellow travelers: Jeremy
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1997)
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Ultimate Backpacking Novels
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Community Reviews

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Mel (who is deeply in love with herself)
Nothing special, but nothing awful, either. Just...average.
God, I wish I hadn't bought this. I could have done a lot with those pounds. Yes, I am a self-confessed stingy bitch when it comes to cash.
But hey-it got a few laughs out of me, so that's definitely a plus. But anything else? I'm afraid not. I didn't care about ANY of the characters (except maybe Ranj). Liz was a bitch. Dave was a self-obsessed twit. And the description of India was pretty basic, too. I could have produced the same book
Jun 14, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ladlit, lad-lit
Fucking Hilarious.

As a british private school educated prick myself I felt compelled to read this book from the moment I read the blurb. And I wasn't dissappointed one bit.

The book is centered around a cynical, horny and sometimes downright hilarious teenage boy on his gap year called Dave. Dave and his best friend's girlfriend are left in London whilst Dave goes off travelling. Dave ends up infatuated with her and so when she starts talkign about plans of the two of them travelling to India tog
Jun 20, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, humorous, fiction
Travel is a journey of self-discovery. Dave travels to India to be with Liz. He discovers that he hates Liz only a bit more than he hates India.

Actually, Dave doesn't hate everything about India; the dope is cheap and plentiful. Still, he has to put up with his fellow travellers, who overuse the word amazing and go on about "Mother India" but tend to hate actual Indians.

William Sutcliffe's book sends up all of those well-off Westerners who go to India (or any other part of the non-Western world
Gijs Grob
'Are you experienced' is the ultimate backpacker's novel. Set in India, it deals with all the cliches, bull crap and annoyances of backpacking.

The story is told by Dave, a nineteen year old, who is as cynical as he is socially unsure and sexually insecure. He teams with his only friend's girlfriend to go on a three month trip to India, which they both experience very differently. Everyone who has traveled himself outside the Western world will recognize Dave's experiences and frustrations.

Feb 15, 2008 Cindi rated it liked it
Another smart, funny critique of backpacking culture, this time written by a Brit. Unfortunately, I believe it's out of print, as I had difficulty ordering it from amazon for my cousin, but I found my copy at the good, old-fashioned library. This is a good book to read alongside "The Beach" by Alex Garland. But this one is a little more positive; it takes a more humorous route, whereas "The Beach" takes a more dystopic route.
I picked up this book as soon as it came to my attention because there was a time in my life when traveling was my favorite thing, and how I spent every spare penny I could squirrel away. India was always on the wish list, but never came to pass. On average, I tend to enjoy most travel memoirs or stories written by people who have really had the experience of traveling.

The author, William Sutcliffe, did in fact spend about 3 months traveling in India during his gap year, just as the protagonist
Oct 13, 2011 Patrick rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
Supposedly a "satire" of backpacking, this extremely short book instead reads like a whiny, self-absorbed travelogue where the main character learns nothing and changes not at all while trying to navigate the subcontinent. There are occasional dead-on points, especially when skewering young backpackers' tendency to travel the world just to get stoned with other young backpackers:

'It's funny,' I said.
'You know how Manali just feels right.'
'How you can travel through all the stress
Jan 05, 2016 Miguel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gosto de viajar e às vezes procuro informações e dicas sobre países, a ideia era encontrar algum chamamento para visitar a India, pensei que ia descobrir algo neste livro, mas...

Um moço de 19 anos, quer dar duas com a namorada de um amigo...., combinam ir para a India.

Poupem o vosso dinheiro, não vale a pena.
Vincent Pham
Feb 06, 2015 Vincent Pham rated it it was amazing
another of my original top 5's. read it twice as well. entertaining, funny, page turner. british humor. read it in india the 2nd time around as it takes place there.
Sep 19, 2007 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I bothered finishing this kak. Total waste of time.
Caroline Dhont
Jan 07, 2013 Caroline Dhont rated it it was amazing
Most hilarious book I ever read!
Dec 30, 2013 Georgie rated it really liked it
'Are You Experienced' is a very funny take on typical 1990s student gap year travel. Liz and Dave are two students who travel to India. Liz wants to 'find herself'. Dave wants to find his way into Liz's bed. Liz and Dave represent two typical student traveller types. Dave is the typical English 'bloke' who likes beer, sex, and curry. He's never left England and his attitude towards India initially switches between whining about the food/heat/people and making fun of other travellers. Liz is that ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Ape rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ha ha... just found my 2007 bookcrossing journal. Looks like I really didn't like this one =)

I hate pretencious teenagers - so a book about pretencious teenagers "travelling" in India, written in the first person perspective of a pretencious teenager probably wasn't a good bet for me. This is awful. The dialogue frequently reads like pantomime. I can't believe it's actually published! This was first published when this guy was 26 and it's his second book. You can't help but wonder if daddy didn'
Lyndsey O'Halloran
This is the last book I had to read for my Travel Writing class at university and I can’t say I was looking forward to it too much. Most of the other reading we had to do was extremely long and boring.

Are You Experienced? begins with Dave and Liz bickering on their flight. You can instantly tell that nothing is right between them and it made me wonder why they were even travelling together in the first place. Before explaining though, Sutcliffe drops the two characters in Delhi, where they are
May 04, 2012 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, comedy, travel, satire
Ok, warning firsts. I've had a bit of a think about this and I've decided it's impossible to write a review of this without giving away a few spoilery spoilers in the process. Which I usually try to avoid doing, but hey-ho, there you go. So, BIG OLD (sort of) SPOILERS BELOW. If you're interested in that sort of thing.

Well, even though our protagonist, Dave, is technically a teenager, I'm not sure I would class this in a strict young adult fiction category. I'm going to try and avoid a big analys
Apr 05, 2014 Moem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meh, funny
Ik registreerde een boek op!

Dit boek bleef lang in Hack42 staan, dus heb ik het zelf maar gelezen. Het was grappig, maar ook niet veel meer dan dat; desondanks, als satire op 'diepe en spirituele' ervaringen van Indiareizigers is het zeker aardig om te lezen. En dat veel mensen een land als India vooral gebruiken als vehikel voor persoonlijke groei, zonder echte interesse voor het land en de mensen, is waarschijnlijk gewoon wel waar.
Aug 06, 2011 Jack added it
Shelves: travel
A fun to read and likely autobiographical bildungsroman about Dave, a young British man who takes a gap year abroad to India before starting university. Dave initially decides on the trip hoping to sleep with his traveling partner Liz, who also happens to be his best friend's girlfriend. In India, Dave initially has a disastrous time, being disgusted by the delusions of transcendence that his fellow travelers pretend to absorb from the magical fairyland of India. As he rants about the absurdity ...more
Jun 13, 2014 Katrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Famous backpacker novel about Dave, a Brit who travels to India before starting university, because everyone else does, too. It's hilarious and so true -- every cliché about backpackers and India is in there, from sex, yoga, diarrhea, spiritual enlightenment and parties to food, cheap hostels and ttravel acquaintances. The dialogues are fantastically realistic, I thought. Nice read, never boring.
Nick Davies
This was witty and readable, but fell slightly short of others by Sutcliffe which I have read - both because of the slimness of the novel (leading to a slightly slim story - characters painted with less weight than they might otherwise have been) and because of there being relatively little I could identify with or like about the characters. Yes, I've been a student too.. but all the clichéd gap year 'finding yourself' stuff, slightly flaky central theme of a pathetic lad following around an ann ...more
Karol K
Sep 01, 2015 Karol K rated it really liked it
This was a very funny book. Lots of hilarious episodes where this teen learns about life while traveling thru India. He really is not interested in the country , just in the girl who he tags along with. She is rather shallow and eventually , he finds out. Here is another example of a person who despises the place but he later learns to appreciate the place and all its negative quirks.
I had to read this one for English Class and decided to get it over with in two days. While I did, sort of, enjoy the book, it was not a particular pleasent read. The language was well-written, but the story got repetitive, it was filled with awkward sex and I absolutely HATED all the character. The got on my nerve every singles one, especially Dave.
Mar 17, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book, its a funny tale, very entertaining and often cringe-worthy! The poor lad featured in the story travels a huge distance in a trip across the world in a vain attempt to seduce a girl who is ultimately not worthy of his affection. A sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious tale of unrequited love.
Apr 07, 2014 M rated it really liked it
If you've ever backpacked through India or Nepal or thereabouts, you'll find this book fricking hilarious!! And perhaps even if you haven' it and escape for a bit into amusing cynicism and mishaps and then count your blessings that it's not your journey!
Keno Goertz
Oct 13, 2014 Keno Goertz rated it it was amazing
Really, really hilarious.

I found myself laughing throughout the whole book. It has a funny story, a great character development and is perfectly written from the perspective of a complete idiot. Also, the ending is really fitting. One of the best books I've ever read!
Sep 18, 2015 Valeriane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, read_2005
J'ai trouvé dans ce bouquin, un bon moment de divertissement. L'auteur retrace avec beaucoup d'humour l'épopée de deux jeunes anglais « décidés » à partir pour l'Inde. Une année sabbatique n'est rien sans un long périple au bout du monde... et puis ça fait bien sur un CV.
Les deux personnages ont des caractères totalement opposés, ce qui met du piment dans leur relation « amicale ». Le roman est ponctué par les hauts et les bas de leurs échanges. Et cela contribue au comique de la situation.
Les d
Feb 17, 2015 Tony rated it liked it
Entertaining read, but I did feel a little like I was being told "you had to have been there", a little like Neil Armstrong's friends and family felt when he came home.
Een leuk boek over Dave, een jongen die besluit naar India te gaan. Als hij er eenmaal is, valt het toch wat tegen. Al maakt hij ook wel leuke dingen mee. Door de reis wordt Dave volgens eigen zeggen volwassen. Het boek is een absolute aanrader voor iedereen die van plan is te gaan backpacken. Of je daarna nog weg wilt, is de vraag. William Sutcliffe weet op hilarische wijze te omschrijven tegen welke dingen je tijdens zo'n reis aan kunt lopen. De Volkskrant omschreef dit boek als volgt: "Voor w ...more
Anna PoWWow
Yes, a quick teenage romp in India from the perspective of a cocky nineteen year old lad. The cover looks trashy and you start the book convinced that you won't last until the end; but before you know it, you've finished it! As a reader, I think we were very successfully put into the shoes [or sandals] of a randy gap year student engulfed upon arriving in India with a whirlwind of insecurities, immense naivety and dangerous levels of arrogance - but what comes with that, arrives an incredibly co ...more
Oct 17, 2008 Pearl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes comdey or travel
Recommended to Pearl by: My Mother
Shelves: general-fiction
Self discovery in India at its best! I fell in love with this book at 7 because of its colorful cover, my mom read it and was in hysterics all afternoon!

A few years later, I read it and finished it in 2 days, not only was brilliantly hilarious (probably the funniest book I have read so far in life) but was cute story about finding your self in the most unexpected place (no?) and staying sane in India while your at it. I've never been to India, but have been Nepal, so I got the drift.

Its an easy
Aug 18, 2015 Leonie rated it really liked it
I read this book a while ago when I was holiday and loved it. Very very funny. Great characters and story-telling that made me laugh out loud.
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William Sutcliffe is a British novelist.

An alumnus of Haberdashers' Aske's School, Sutcliffe started his career with a novel about school life entitled New Boy (1996), which was followed by his best-known work so far, Are You Experienced? (1997), a pre-university gap year novel, in which a group of young Brits travel to India without really knowing what to expect or what to do there. The Love Hexa
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