Recently, as I have been travelling on the monotonous bus route to and from my work, I have been reading “The Beach” by Alex Garland. This fictitious universe has captivated me.
See trailer in the bottom of the article.
Suddenly, a predictably traffic ridden journey is transformed into an exhilarating roller coaster of suspense. Surely everybody should experience this wonderful travel fable.
Braving a night in a cockroach-infested doss-house, the lead character, Richard becomes aquatinted with a seemingly insane Scotsman called Daffy. The next morning Richard finds the man dead in the room next door, and a map on his door, showing the way to “the Beach”. “The Beach” has a sort of urban mythology surrounding it, no one is sure if this utopian island really exists: A lagoon surrounded by coral reefs, jungle and purling waterfalls with exotic wildlife and plenty of fish. A small society apparently living in harmony in the Garden of Eden.
To Richard, who is singularly adventurous, this challenge is irresistible. Behind its idyllic façade, there is a darker side to the Beach.
If you have ever done much travelling, you will surely recognise some of the scenarios in the book. It has been almost five years since I stayed on the Khao San Road in Bangkok, but whilst reading “The Beach” I felt as though I was being transported back there. The diesel smell of the bus was transformed into that of incense.
“The Beach” is not backpacking propaganda, it makes you stop and think abut how people meet one another, how we react towards other tourists, towards other backpackers.
“The Beach” is a must in every backpack when going abroad.
Author: Torben Linnemann Nielsen
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