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Are You Experienced?

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  2,822 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
A devastatingly funny satire on the whole idea of student travel,and particularly the India back-pack trail. Dave travels to India with Liz because he thinks he might be able to get her into bed. Liz travels to India with Dave because she wants a companion for her voyage of spiritual discovery. She loves it. He dreams of frosty mornings, pints of lager and restaurants wher ...more
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jason
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
James Hartley
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jim
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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.

Sutcl
...more
Lisa
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 -.-
Cindi
Feb 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Amanda
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
...more
Patrick
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
'What?'
'You know how Manali just feels right.'
'Yeah.'
'How you can travel through all the stress a
...more
Nikolas
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
...more
Hayley
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.
Rob Wildey
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite simply the funniest book I have ever read. It is hilarious. I have never been to India but after reading this, I felt like I had. Read this in two days whilst on holiday - could not stop laughing.
Miguel
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  ·  review of another edition
Most hilarious book I ever read!
Kelly
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Very, very funny
Snoakes
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mel
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.7***
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
...more
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.
Charlie
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.
Avivi
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[nsfw] 'i hugged her all night with my hard cock pressed against her ass'
Anna
Mar 16, 2012 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
...more
Paul Westwood
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
I gave this novel three stars immediately after reading it but in hindsight I think I was too generous so I've retrospectively downgraded it.
My initial rating was because it was a very easy read and as such suited my reading environment, which was planes and buses on the way to and from a holiday. It's chock full of dislikeable characters and to begin with this is wryly amusing but as the story progresses and everyone, including the narrator, is still annoying it loses its sheen. The main charac
...more
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
...more
Kirk Alter
Feb 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh...I enjoy travel books, especially well written ones. I was reading another book where this one was referenced and decided to read it. The part that got my interest was the distinction between tourist and traveler that the author - Sutcliffe, supposedly makes. The premise is some young (19 y/o) mates (male/female - but not a couple) travel to India on a pre-uni trip. The reason I chose the book is that it allegedly poked as much fun at the "hippie-esque" 'travelers' who castigate tourists fo ...more
Georgie
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'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
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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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