The Beach

  • by Alex Garland
  • Narrated by Michael Page
  • 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for thousands of years. There, it is rumored, a carefully selected international few have settled into a communal Eden.

Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful as it is reputed to be. Yet over time it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly undercurrents.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What is Paradise?

I listened to half of this audiobook as I was taking a bus from Bangkok to Krabi (one of the beach-side locations in Southern Thailand). While exploring the stunning beaches Thailand has to offer; I was listening to this tale. In short, I felt like I was living this story.

The central question of this narrative is: "What is Paradise?" Richard, the protagonist of Garland's tale is in search of paradise and therefore is trying to find the last refuge left in Thailand that tourist haven't over-run yet... The blatant hippocracy in all of this is that Richard himself is one of those tourist. This book is riddled wit such notble dichotomises such as: sane vs insane, outsider vs insider, and love vs hate.

Garland provides the reader with an epically masterful narrative of a protagonist walking the line between these opposite extremes. I was especially in awe of how tastefully Garland shows Richards descent into madness.

No better place in the world than to listen to this book while wandering through Thailand, but to any lover of traveling, I highly recommend this book due to its exploration of the pursuit of Paradise. Sometimes what looks wonderful on the outside is nothing, but madness on the inside...
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- Tomer

Weed and the beach

Any additional comments?

I liked that a good book that is critically acclaimed about pot heads on a beach exists. You can tell the guy who wrote it is mixing in his own worldly experiences with his love of weed and interesting stories. I liked this book, and the way he tells it, you can almost tell when he is referencing his own life. Ending was kind of freaky but surprises are always fun. The reader does a good job with all the characters and accents and does not have any annoying habits, I recommend this book and audio book to anyone, stoner or not. Oh ya it was interesting to read a book written by a British person, instead of saying he ways 170 lbs, for example, he says 11 stone! Haha. It is neat to see how other people view Americans. Too bad there were no Americans living on the beach, but there were some in the book playing a key role. Just don’t waist your time with the movie till you have read/listened to the book.

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- Thomas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-11-2009
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio