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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Thomas on 02-07-13
Weed and the beach
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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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By M. Woot on 12-12-16
Bona Fide Fiction
I started reading this book soon after moving to Thailand to teach English. I have to admit I didn't know a whole lot about the book but had pretty low expectations, thinking it was just another glorified backpacker narrative, and also given the perception of the movie (which, fortunately, I hadn't seen), but I wanted to read something relating to Thailand so decided to give it a go. Boy, was I surprised when I couldn't put it down, devoured it in a matter of days, and was devastated when it was over.
I am a very visual person and sometimes, when reading fiction, I have a hard time seeing the story the author is trying to tell and I drive myself mad trying to settle upon how to visualize things (what does a particular character look and sound like, what does the setting look like, etc.). Fortunately, thanks to Garland's descriptive writing, I could magically see everything he described. Listening to this book on audible definitely added to the experience. Michael Page's ability to capture the emotions and even the dialects of the different characters was spectacular and made it even easier for me to visualize what was going on and put myself in the characters' shoes.
One of my favorite things about this book is how intimately you get to know the characters - perhaps as you would when living on a deserted island with someone. Garland's portrayals of his characters are so well built and believable that I can easily imagine these people existing in real life and could see them wandering Khao San Road or gallivanting around as tourists on any beach in Thailand. Their psychological make-up and interactions with other characters are three-dimensional, dynamic and seem very true to life to me. On top of that, the setting is rich and well-described and would appeal to most anyone interested in travel, particularly in Thailand. But what I like about this book is that it does NOT glorify travel or the idea of paradise found but goes much deeper; it bravely portrays the many challenges, dilemmas, and hypocrisies that come with leisure travel - and, really, the human condition. And as such, it's far from just another glorified backpacker narrative.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful