The Beach – Alex Garland.
I know I know I said I would stop reading things that are in anyway linked to films and I promise that I will at some point. If it makes it better, I haven’t seen the film adaptation of this, although judging by the trailer it appears to be a very different story.
The Beach is the account of a young British traveller called Richard who has arrived in Thailand looking for adventure and something different to anything he has experienced before. On his first night, he checks into a guest house where he has disturbed nights sleep due to his neighbours. When he gets up the next day he finds that one of those neighbours, a man calling himself Daffy Duck has left a map leading to a mythical beach taped to Richard’s door before killing himself.
Confused Richard shows the map to his other neighbours, a French couple and together, the three of them decide to go and find the beach.
Managing to get around several obstacles they find themselves in a glorious paradise inhabited by a group of other travellers who have all found the beach and decided never to leave. The three become integrated into the society and begin to forget about the outside world, almost as if they had never lived elsewhere. But Richard becomes increasingly more unstable as the story goes on, he becomes fearful of the outside world but also begins questioning the cult like society he’s now found himself in.
This book was completely addictive, in fact I think it was the best one I’ve read since The Hunger Games it dragged me in just as beach life dragged in Richard. It was absolutely enthralling, the whole thing was so brilliantly written, I’ve never really been interested in going travelling before but now I am ever so slightly considering the idea more and more.
I picked The Beach up on a whim when I headed to the book barn before Christmas and I am so glad that I did, it might have just become my Catcher in the Rye.