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The Beach [Paperback]

Alex Garland
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product Description

Amazon Review

In our ever-shrinking world, where popular Western culture seems to have infected every nation on the planet, it is hard to find even a small niche of unspoiled land--forget searching for pristine islands or continents. This is the situation in Alex Garland's debut novel, The Beach. Human progress has reduced Eden to a secret little beach near Thailand. In the tradition of grand adventure novels, Richard, a rootless traveller rambling around Thailand on his way somewhere else, is given a hand-drawn map by a madman who calls himself Daffy Duck. He and two French travellers set out on a journey to find this paradise.

What makes this a truly satisfying novel is the number of levels on which it operates. On the surface it's a fast-paced adventure novel; at another level it explores why we search for these utopias, be they mysterious lost continents or small island communes. Garland weaves a gripping and thought-provoking narrative that suggests we are, in fact, such products of our Western culture that we cannot help but pollute and ultimately destroy the very sanctuary we seek. --Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

A gripping adventure, and a fascinating jigsaw (The Times)

Fresh, fast-paced, compulsive and clever (Nick Hornby)

A white-knuckle ride into the heart of darkness (Sunday Times)

Lord of the Flies and The Magus lurk at the roots of this novel, but Garland reshapes them with panache into something terrifyingly new (Mail on Sunday)

A mesmerising, knuckle-clenching read (Maxim)

Winningly compulsive, brilliantly conceived (Q)

Garland's prose is stunningly lucid. Addictive and compelling (Spectator)

A highly confident debut...this incisive novel may well come to be regarded as a defining text in the history of imaginative travel writing (Daily Telegraph)

Alex Garland is writing a brand new kind of adventure novel. His style is dangerously simple yet altogether captivating (Douglas Rushkoff)

An exceptional first novel...An action novel that provokes subtle responses, The Beach takes in ideas about man's inevitable progress from noble savage to social breakdown (and) the related tradition of nature versus art (The Times Literary Supplement)

Garland has written a powerful and frighteningly believable novel (Company)

Precise and speedy prose, with good old-fashioned romantic adventure spiced up with deadpan authorial irony (Guardian)

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR THE BEACH
‘THE BEACH is fresh, fast-paced, compulsive and clever – a LORD OF THE FLIES for the Generation X. It has all the makings of a cult classic.’ Nick Hornby

‘An impressive new writer has arrived.’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘LORD OF THE FLIES and THE MAGUS lurk at the roots of this novel, but Garland reshapes them with panache into something terrifyingly new.’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

‘Alex Garland is writing a brand new kind of adventure novel. His style is dangerously simple yet altogether captivating.’ Douglas Rushkoff

‘The storyline is winningly compulsive, the writing deceptively simple in this, frankly, brilliantly conceived first novel.’ Q Magazine

‘A gripping adventure and also fascinating jigsaw…Cleanly written, strongly driven, this is a terrific debut.’ THE TIMES

‘A highly confident debut…this incisive novel may well come to be regarded as a defining text in the history of imaginative travel writing.’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘An exceptional first novel…An action novel that provokes subtle responses, THE BEACH takes in ideas about man’s inevitable progress from noble savage to social breakdown (and) the related tradition of nature versus art.’ TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

‘A literary adrenalin rush…What Irvine Welsh did for the modern junkie, Alex Garland is about to do for the modern junkie, Alex Garland is about to do for thousands of young adventurers.’ PUNCH

‘Garland has written a powerful and frighteningly believable novel.’ COMPANY

‘Precise and speedy prose, with good old-fashioned romantic adventure spiced up with deadpan authorial irony.’ THE GUARDIAN

‘Brutal but compelling stuff…Pick this up and you won’t be able to put it down.’ MAXIM --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

The Tolkien millennium calendar includes six paintings by Ted Nasmith from the new edition of The Silmarillion, plus six previously unpublished scenes commissioned especially for this calendar.

• Includes the best of the illustrated Silmarillion, plus six never-before-seen paintings
• New popular 12”x12” format, same as last year
• Each month’s painting is complemented by a quotation from the book and unpublished colour sketches by the artist
• Includes introductory background text and a bonus painting as a pull-out centrefold poster

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alex Garland was born in London in 1970.He has written two novels, The Beach (1996), The Tesseract (1998) and an illustrated novella, The Coma (2003), in collaboration with his father. He has also written three screenplays, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Never Let Me Go.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I counted nine tents in the clearing and five huts, not including the longhouse. The tents were only used for sleeping - inside the flaps I could see backpacks and clothes, and in one I even saw a Nintendo Gameboy - but the huts all seemed to have functional uses. Apart from the toilet, there was a kitchen and a washing area, also fed by tributaries. The other huts were for storage. One contained carpentry tools and another some boxes of tinned food. It made me wonder how long the camp had existed. Sal had said that the dope fields had appeared a couple of years ago, which implied the travellers had been around for some time before that.

Tents, tools, tinned food, Nintendo. The more I saw, the more I marvelled. It wasn't just how much the camp had been organized, it was how it had been organized. None of the huts looked newer than the others. The tents' guy lines were held with rocks, and the rocks were moulded into the ground. Nothing seemed random, everything seemed calculated: designed as opposed to evolved.

As I wandered around the clearing, peering through tent flaps and studying the canopy ceiling until my neck ached, my sense of awe was matched only by a sense of frustration. Questions kept appearing in my mind, and each question raised another. It was clear that at some point, the people who'd set up the camp had needed a boat. This suggested a certain kind of Thai. A Ko Samui spiv might bend the rules to let backpackers stay on a marine-park island for a few nights, but it was harder to imagine them ferrying crates of food and carpentry tools.

I also found it strange that the camp was so deserted. It apparently supported a large number of people, and a couple of times I thought I heard voices near by, but no one ever appeared.

After a while, the quietness and occasional distant voices began to get to me. At first I just felt a little lonely and sorry for myself. I didn't think Sal should have left me on my own, especially when I was ill and new to the camp. And Étienne and Françoise were supposed to be my friends. Shouldn't friends have hung around to make sure I was OK?

But soon loneliness turned into paranoia. I found that I was starting when I heard jungle noises, my shuffling footsteps in the dirt sounded oddly, and I caught myself acting with an affected casualness, aimed at the eyes I suspected were watching me from the trees. Even the absence of Étienne and Françoise became a reason to worry.

Maybe it was partly to do with my fever, or maybe it was a normal reaction in abnormal circumstances. Either way, the eerie quietness was freaking me out. I decided I had to get out of the clearing. I went back to the longhouse to pick up some cigarettes and some shoes, but when I saw the long avenue of shadow that lay between the door and my candle-lit bed, I changed my mind.

There were several paths that ran from the clearing. I chose the nearest. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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