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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A picture of what can be seen if you really look hard
It is a phenomenal and moving book. You can't put it down without knowing what will happen next. I'm a slow reader- I read 'east of eden' by John Steinbeck, in 5 months. 'The Beach' is about the same size and I read it in less than a week. The story makes you realize that we are actually destroying this world at our heart's content. Richard hated going back to...
Published on 24 Feb 2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read, but not original enough to be a 'cult classic'
I really enjoyed the Beach, and finished it in 2 days flat, but I have to agree with another reviewer that it was pretty derivative stuff - well-written, exciting, but if you've read Lord of the Flies and seen Apocolypse Now, you know exactly what's going to happen - My enjoyment was greatly aided by having stayed on the Kao San Road - anyone who's travelled round...
Published on 7 Feb 2000


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A picture of what can be seen if you really look hard, 24 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
It is a phenomenal and moving book. You can't put it down without knowing what will happen next. I'm a slow reader- I read 'east of eden' by John Steinbeck, in 5 months. 'The Beach' is about the same size and I read it in less than a week. The story makes you realize that we are actually destroying this world at our heart's content. Richard hated going back to civilization. He wanted to stay in paradise because he saw all the destruction whereas others were blind to it. This book also shows how your mind and feelings can change- how paradise can quite easily turn into hell. It was a great experience to read and my advice is- READ THE BOOK- DO NOT SEE THE FILM, IT'S A DISASTER- IT RUINS IT!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back to the valley of death, 4 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
I appreciate that a lot of people have enjoyed this book so don't want to go over the top with praise...I think the references to Vietnam give the paradise dark overtones i.e. paradise cannot last forever, history will scar and repeat. The knowledge of the main character that he is going crazy, psychosis, i believe is excellent and catalogues in depth how Richard is influcnced by his surroundings and the death of Daffy. Ultimately, most readers will not completely understand the connections between Vietnam and the beach, aside from the geographical location. I think this is part of the intrigue; the book is dark and mysterious and encourages multiple readings to try and understand it. Even if you only grasp the idea of the break-down of civilisation, the book is compelling and the description of Asia leave a deep impact on the imagination. If you do however, believe that the author is too-hyped up on Vietnam, read his second novel, The Tesseract and you will see a completely different type of book, though with a complex make-up. In short an excellent first novel and well-worth its money as it can be read so many times without losing the edge. On a lighter note, Leonado DiCaprio was a pathetic cast for Richard, with no dark side and a sad attempt at going round the bend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film..., 10 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Beach (Kindle Edition)
Stuff in the book that's really exciting...that they leave out in the film. extra things added in the film that make me dislike Richard...I like him in the book.x
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite 'Eden'..., 27 April 2007
By 
B. Wright (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
This book is very well-written, capturing the reader's attention from the start. A travel-fiction set in Thailand, following a backpacker as he searches for the perfect 'Eden', a place unsullied by other tourists; 'The Beach'.

For a first novel it's fantastic; it kept me going back and reading. I read half of it in one stint, but then had to slow down a little due to work. The characters are believable and the society in which they work is convincing too. It is funny (if you're into black humour...), witty, and human.

My only problem, possibly due to hype from the film (which I haven't seen yet...), was that I felt the book was building and building to a huge climax, and then when it got to the end I felt a little letdown and like the payoff I was expecting hadn't arrived. The book is definitely worth reading and I'd recommend it to anybody, but just don't go in with expectations. Chances are it will differ from them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read, but not original enough to be a 'cult classic', 7 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
I really enjoyed the Beach, and finished it in 2 days flat, but I have to agree with another reviewer that it was pretty derivative stuff - well-written, exciting, but if you've read Lord of the Flies and seen Apocolypse Now, you know exactly what's going to happen - My enjoyment was greatly aided by having stayed on the Kao San Road - anyone who's travelled round Thailand will love it if for some reason they haven't already read it. As enjoyable as a decent Hollywood action flick (as it has now become) but not the greatest debut in years, and not a cult classic, except perhaps amongst starry-eyed Gap Year students who do too much pot. (Though maybe that's enough to make it one....)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Garlands passport to success......., 24 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
Having read the book during the World Cup weeks of Summer 1998, I decided to re-read ahead of the pending Leonardo Di-Caprio movie release. It is and always will be "a classic" of the travel theme novels. Whilst there are a lot of un-answered questions about the characters and plot that you ask yourself when reading such as " How do the residents of The Beach deliver their wish you were here cards to friends and relatives ???", you become swept up in the community free living that surely must be most peoples escapism dream. It will be a very hard act to follow for the author, but then if the movie is a huge success, he may not even need to work again......
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read this before you watch the film, 13 Aug 2003
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
I read this book before watching the film, and I loved it. The descriptions are so vivid you get transported to another world. My only complaint was that I found it hard to empathise with the main character, Richard. I think this is true of the film as well.
Richard is a backpacker who has set off alone to Thailand. On his first night on the Kao San Road he meets Daffy, a fellow traveller (a very scary character! - this haunted me after seeing the film!). The next morning, Richard goes to find Daffy and sees him dead in his hotel room, having slit his wrists. However Daffy has left behind a map to the 'beach' - and the setting for the rest of the story.
The beach is an amazing community on a private island. The idyllic beauty of the area is overshadowed by the dope farmers that the islanders share their home with. This adds danger - especially when Richard and others are nearly caught in the dope fields by the Thai farmers with their guns.
Eventually the island life begins to fall apart, with strangers arriving at the island and people being bitten by sharks. The leader of the community refuses to let anyone go to the mainland for hospital treatment and this causes a rift in the community.
This book has stayed with me since I read it about 4 years ago. I have read it several times since, even though I hardly ever read a book more than once. And I was one of the few people who actually enjoyed the film, although I thought the book was better. I think my knowledge of the book enhanced my enjoyment of the film. This book made me want to visit Thailand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unoriginal aeroplane fodder, 11 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
I've seen almost as many people reading this on the Tube in London as I've seen reading Captain Corelli (I bet more saw The Beach through to the end, though). However, let's not get carried away because someone has finally written a backpacking (don't use the word 'traveller', they're just want to be called that) novel. This is the Lord of the Flies repackaged, but not as clever (there is also a similar short novel by John Wyndham, the title of which escapes me at the moment). Those who have done the South-east Asia backpacker trail will undoubtedly be able to identify with the places and characters - but there's nothing clever in writing about that - there are a million and one backpackers personal diaries with exactly that in them.
It is definitely quite addictive reading as you do finish it quickly - but it's also really easy-going as none of the characters are really developed beyond them fitting a particular stereotype.
There is a great scope for a good backpacker novel (William Sutcliffe's 'Are You Experienced' starts on the right lines but loses its way halfway through) but this isn't it. If that's indeed what it intended to be. If it was meant to be a perceptive take on paradise and society, then it's even further from the mark.
I did wonder for a moment if it was just me, and I was being too cynical, but then the Tesseract came out, I started reading it and it was utter rubbish.
For me Garland is not going to make it beyond the likes of Charles Higson and James Hawes - great entertainment if you've hours to kill in a hotel room - but never destined to be in the league of the likes of Martin Amis, David Lodge and so on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an engrossing read, 3 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
I would never have bought this book myself, perhaps being put off by Mr Di Caprio's face on the cover, but having it bought for me, I decided to give it a go. That was a mere 32 hours ago! I was totally engrossed at the first page and haven't been able to to put it down since. I must admit, that I thought there was going to be more things of a murderous nature going on much earlier in the book, but the characters and situations kept me enthralled, right through to the bloody end. Cant wait to see the film now!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant - READ THIS BOOK, 8 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Beach (Paperback)
i decided to read this book 2 days before the film was due to come out, recommended by a friend at uni. i read it in 2 days - and couldn't put it down! this book is amazing - garlands descriptions of the characters are so vivid - you can see everyone and hear everyone - and by the way - leo IS NOT richard in any way shape or form. who was responsible for casting the film! i went to see the film and wish i hadn't - it was such a let down after the book - so many essential characters and events were completely cut out or changed which just missed the whole point of the book and left out the key points. the book shows you richards slow descent into madness, the inhumanity of the supposed paradise and the people within it, and the hell that richards life becomes. the film missed the point of all of this and cut it out. the book is amazing, the film absolutely terrible. if they had read the book before filming, it might have helped. if you've seen the film and are not sure whether to read the book, then you definitely should. you won't be disappointed - just forget what happened in the film!
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The Beach
The Beach by Alex Garland (Paperback - 26 Jun 1997)
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