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Bring back the old cover
The Beach - Alex Garland
Member Name: defiler
The Beach - Alex Garland
Date: 30/05/01, updated on 01/06/01 (249 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to read, Remains interesting throughout
Disadvantages: Being told what is about to happen before it does spoils the book in places
After several recommendations I got lent this book a few months ago however with all the other books I was reading or that continued on from other books I had read earlier I only got around to starting this book yesterday, for once I actually read fast and managed to finish it in just 1 day.
Recently I've read nothing but fantasy and humour books so reading a book that was completely different made a change, the fact that the book was easy to read and remained interesting all the way through meant that it was a good change, although I think I still prefer Fantasy.
The book has 2 ways of looking at the story, one is looking at the main characters view of the situation from when they were in it and the second is them looking back on it from the future. This type of view doesn't appeal to everyone as it only allows you to get the feelings of the main character and their views on the feelings of others however I tend to like it in small amounts, I wouldn't like every book I read to be like this but every now and then I like to read a book written like this.
Unfortunatly I don't feel the looking back view was handled that well, I found it irritating to be told that something was about to happen before it actually had and of course you know that certain characters aren't going to die if they are mentioned to be alive in the future, if a book does have someone in the present looking back on the past I feel that they shouldn't reveal things that happen until they actually have happened in the story.
The book follows Richard, a traveller currently rambling around Thailand, after a stay in a room which sees his neighbour kill themselves and leave him a hand-drawn map he decides to explore where this map leads, along with 2 other people he meets around the same time. The book basically centres on their trip to find this paradise beach and what happens when they get there. As he progresses on thi
s journey however Richard finds himself going slightly mad and seeing images of the man who left him the map in his mind and even having conversations with him.
One of the things I found interesting about the book was how it showed how hard it is to find an area of unspoilt land where tourists have yet to go and how hard it is to keep the land like this if you do, the problem seems to be that once one person discovers something like this they will tell someone else who will tell someone else and the area becomes completely tourist orientated.
The book also looks at a number of other things such as how the people living in such an environment behave, how they cope with problems that occur and to what lengths they will go to keep the environment as 'perfect' as it is. The changing mood of the book as it progresses is interesting and shows how a persons image of a place can change a great deal.
The book manages to succesfully produce a wide range of different characters, I felt that they were described well and all had traits that distinguished them from other characters. Many books tend to produce a lot of characters that have slight differences but are generally the same but I felt that this wasn't the case here, although it was true that a few similarities existed among every character in the book. However as the people are all around the same age and all needed to share at least a few similarities to have ended up where they are this does make sense.
I also felt that peoples feelings, emotions and thoughts seemed to be done in a realistic way, there were a few things that didn't seem that believable but in general I found that the characters acted as I would expect them to act, no-one seemed overally stupid or heroic or anything else.
I felt that the writing style seen within the book made it very easy to read, the book seemed to flow well and seemed interes
ting even when it was describing something that should really have been quite boring.
I like seeing short chapters in books, if a book has a long chapter I will usually be put off at starting the next one as I think it will be too long to finish, if a book has short chapters however I tend to continue reading for longer as I know I can stop reading whenever I want and will also be more likely to start reading knowing that I can put it down whenever I want and do something else rather than feeling I need to read the 20-30 pages left to finish the chapter.
It's an easy to read book with an interesting story, I came away from reading this book thinking that although I really enjoyed it there were various parts that could somehow have been done better and it didn't strike me as a classic book, just a very good one. They should really get rid of the new cover though, I really hate seeing film covers on a book that is more than likely much better than the film (will watch the film before I say it is better, but I'm pretty sure it will be).