This week I re read my favourite book of all time. The Beach by Alex Garland.
I read it first at a time when it was relevant, it had just came out and I was in university leading an adventurous lifestyle. As a rebel the thought of travelling to a forbidden beach full of daring and lust really did appeal.
Despite Decaprios best efforts the book is way better than the film in every way. The characters are quirkier and edgier, the main character has more flaws which makes him deeper.
For those of you unfamiliar, the story recounts the journey of Richard, a traveller who is sick of seeing travelling spots weighed down with tourists and is in search of a purer experience. Cue the dark Daffy Duck who tells a story of a hidden beach in a nearby island. An urban legend among the travelling community. Not on any tourist route it is difficult to get too and forbidden. Not only that but he leaves Richard a map.
This sets Richard and his newly found friends on a dangerous trek, swimming a perilously long way in the sea and hiking blindly through jungles and a very special field.
I love how the hero’s mistakes unravel in this sinister plot, which leads to the novels very dark climax.
I won’t spoil the tale for you because I enjoy the suspense the book brings. But even if you have watched the film, I recommend you read the book as it is a different experience, the end of the book is so much more grisly. I also got the impression that if I was an experienced traveller, or familiar with the Thai culture that there would be a lot more subtle references I could have took from it.
If you like a story with, grit, adventure, suspense and true consequence, this is a book for you.