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Are You Experienced?

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  3,030 Ratings  ·  191 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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Community Reviews

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Jun 14, 2012 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
James Hartley
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago in Udaipur and kept it with me as a souvenir of "travelling and travellers". Yesterday I saw it on the shelf, took it down and read it more or less in one go, finishing late last night. Although its rickety in places, this is a funny, entertaining, TRUE book about that whole backpacking, gap-year scene, which will tickle anyone who has travelled through India, or indeed, Asia or Africa. It hits most of the targets it aims at and makes some telling points in amongst the piss ...more
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
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
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
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
'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.

May 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
It was completely dull. It had some funny moments, yeah, but they were few. And there was no character development at all. Stupid required reading -.-
Nov 17, 2010 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 a
Feb 15, 2008 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.
Ryan Williams
Feb 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Tepid, as with all Sutcliffe's books: like an anaemic Waugh set loose on the same turf as Alex Garland. Gap year backpacking students are a deeply irritating breed; no satire dealing with them should want for material. This does.
Charlotte Jones
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
*Disclaimer: I received this for free in exchange for an honest review from Penguin*

Going into this I thought I wouldn't like it because of the sexual content, particularly from a male perspective but I actually really enjoyed this reading experience.

This is effectively a satire about the theme of travelling on a gap year, and it is a coming of age story of the male protagonist. Though reading from the male perspective was a little strange at times, I found the characters to be realistic, having
Yahia El gamal
The book is quite a funny book, especially if you have backpacked before in Asia. You can see how many of the characters are real common characters in real life and start thinking that you did meet someone like Jeremy, or Fee.

I think the book is overemphasizing a bit the effect of traveling. After all Dave moved from a whining lousy person, to a pretentious lousy person in my opinion. "Dave the traveller" is not better or worse than "Dave".

I thought the book is a light funny read. Happy that I
Julie Reine
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book about how to pick your travelling companions! Haha It is really funny and at the same time, actually made me discovered India through its pages. All the girls in this book are unbearable but the narrator is not really better. Still, you start liking this Dave and in the end, I was really into the book and finished it in a few hours.
The perfect satyre of the backpacking trend/industry.
It also make you think about your behaviour when visiting a different country, are you the tourist, the
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
Nikolas Erdmann
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
I had to read this book for a Youth culture seminar, and seeing the book's cover and title made me want to puke at the idea of reading it. I thought it was going to be one of those cheap hippie narrations, where traveling would change the protagonist's life. And even tough, traveling did do exactly that to him, the book retains a constant cynic-funny perspective of the hippie side of traveling and disappointed my expectations positively.
I had a good laugh, and that isn't a common thing for me t
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A witty take on the 'gap year' phenomenon as seen through the eyes of a sceptical 19 year old lad.

This book didn't set my world on fire but it was a light, entertaining read. My only real criticism is that the protagonist was portrayed as being pretty socially inept, which is not unbelievable for a 19 year old boy lacking in life experience, but it seemed to jar a bit with his well-developed sense of cynicism.
Feb 24, 2015 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.
Caroline Dhont
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Most hilarious book I ever read!
Sep 19, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I bothered finishing this kak. Total waste of time.
Vincent Pham
Feb 06, 2015 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.
Chris Morton
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. This was the second time I read it, the first time was when I was a teenager and had never travelled before, and now that I am experienced in travel, it was a great book to go back to.
Brian Richards
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very, very funny
Rajesh Amradi
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A hilarious take on India by a British teenager that agrees for a journey in the country with his mate's girl, with whom he plans to have a 'pleasure'-able time, but instead ends up becoming lonely, and desolate. I always used to wonder, what do travellers do in India, and this book probably answers it with the very western view of things.

What makes it funny is that he wasn't really prepared to travel in India, and stepping into an oven is something he has never done before. He looks at things f
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won-or-blagged
Plenty of privileged middle class kids travel in their gap year before university. This novel rather marvellously parodies the worst of those - the ones who travel east to see the 'real India' (or wherever), which apparently entails following the same traveller trail as everyone other privileged middle class kid, hanging out in hostels with them getting stoned and talking nonsense dressed up as philosophy - and rarely (if ever) interacting with anyone local.

I had a lot of sympathy for Dave, he n
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve heard it said before that traveller’s fall into two categories – those who have been to India and those who haven’t. Whilst I believe that to be a load of pretentious shite, when it comes to travel writing I’ve always thought that there are two categories of travel book readers – those who’ve read Are You Experienced and those who haven’t.

This novel follows Dave who decides to travel to India, primarily to bed his best mate’s girlfriend and his subsequent disillusionment with India itself
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Not a book to engage in if you feel you must like the characters, but a truly humorous tongue in cheek look at the less glamorous details of travel and a satirical approach to wealthy empire youth trying to justify their entitlement. Liz and Dave set out on a journey together with some questionable motivation, she is trying to get back at her boyfriend for proceeding on his gap year travel without her while Dave believes he has a relationship with Liz that she blithely disregards. I relate
Allen Ambrosino
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Any book that can accurately depict the life of a backpacker, especially in a place like India, and can bring me back to when I was there is a friend of mine. Add in a conversational writing style and you have a book that should be required reading for anyone boarding a plane with passport in hand without any place to stay beforehand ...
Ditta Reads
This was a great read! I read this book while on holiday in Sri Lanka and would definitely have read it in one sitting if that would have been possible with my itinerary. (It wasn't so I finished it in two sittings). The books is really humorous and a very quick and light read, while it also gives some food for thought.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, reizen
Een komische satire op de rugzak toeristen naar India en hun zelfgekozen lijden.
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It passed the time, but writing a satire on gap year travelers to India is pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of this book as many of Dave's thoughts rang true of my experiences in Australia. However, I found the middle a little muddled and found my concentration waning.
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William Sutcliffe was born in 1971 in London. He is the author of eight novels, New Boy, Are You Experienced?, The Love Hexagon, Bad Influence, Whatever Makes You Happy, The Wall, Concentr8 and We See Everything, which have been translated into twenty-six languages.

The Wall was shortlisted for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Are You Experienced? has been reissued on the prestigious Penguin Essenti
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