Have you ever sat there and wondered which book was so funny that it was making the guy on the tube, four places down from you, laugh so incongruously? It might well have been William Sutcliffe's "are you experienced?".
Dave and Liz (Dave's sort-of-best-mate's girlfriend) set off to India for an authentic, alternative, holistic experience. Dave already knows that he fancies Liz, but has not, as yet, realised that he also hates her. Liz is searching for inner peace; Dave is searching for a piece of Liz. Dave is cynical, apprehensive and naïve; Liz is eager, flirtatious and naïve. Sutcliffe is funny, very funny.
Through choice characters and sharp dialogue the reader is taken on a whistle stop tour of India's hippie trail and shown a few polarised snaps of the workings of the not-quite-twenty-something's mind along the way.
Given the subject matter, one would have been forgiven for assuming that, to fully appreciate the satire, one would need to have had some such "travelling" experience oneself. This is not the case. If you've never been travelling yourself, you will doubtless know someone who has. As Sutcliffe stresses, travelling is no longer the reserve of the adventurous or the alternative, is has now become almost a prerequisite to university admission for the middle classes from England's leafy Home Counties. Backpacking has now become as institutionalised as any Public school, or packaged holiday to Ibiza.
Short, witty and observant, this is a book you will not put down. If you like to be inconspicuous, do not read this book in public.