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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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