The Beach

One of the really lovely things about having a foreign partner is that you get to show them all the good stuff you know about and they don't - books, movies, food, landscapes - things which are definately great, but are old hat when around British friends. I bought my fiance a copy of The Beach by Alex Garland on the weekend. It was 50p in a charity shop. I hadn't thought about it in years. It took me back to the time when it seemed every single person on the London Underground was reading it. I was even in Thailand on a remote island soon after it became huge, and it was to be seen tucked into every backpack. It was quite a good book, surprisingly uncheesy.

He was hyped up to vein-bursting levels. He was young, handsome, cool - he probably even did drugs and stuff. Then he wrote a boring non-entity called The Tesseract, and everyone went 'meh' and then he just faded away, swallowed up by his own success. He's made a couple of (not very good) screenplays since, and has now apparently written the script for a video game. I wonder if he'll ever be able to get back in the saddle and write another excellent book?


Brit said...

The movie was Danny Boyle's shark-jump though, wasn't it?

I quite enjoyed The Beach but gave up on The Tesseract after about 10 pages. The former seemed to be based on Garland's actual travel experiences so much of it rang true; the latter was just a load of schoolboyish bollocks.

worm said...

the film was utterly awful! My girlfriend has seen the film, yet I was able to say to her with conviction - 'don't worry, the book is almost a completely different story'

You are so right about the Tesseract being schoolboyish - and perhaps there's a strong chance that's what it was - a hurriedly polished-up schoolboy proto-book, that the publishers demanded he bring out quickly to cash in on his previous success.