Wow, it’s kind of a miracle. I actually wrote this review a few* days back and am posting it now, in time. After being terribly late reviewing the last times, it feels good have written this early. Errr… the miracle wasn’t a real one, as proven by the fact that I didn’t upload the review until now. I really finished the first draft early though but after Sam posted hers, I just had some adjustments in mind.. and apparently no time. I finally found some time so here we go.
As most of you know, I have this little tradition going on where I recite a part of the twenty-seventh page:
‘May I have a cigarette, Richard?’ ‘Sure.’ I gave her one and held out a light. As she cupped her hands to cover the flame from the ceiling fan, I noticed a tiny dolphin tattoo half hidden behind her watch- strap. It seemed like a strange place for a tattoo and I nearly commented on it, but to do so seemed too familiar. Scars and tattoos. You need to know someone fairly well before asking questions. ‘ So what is this map from the dead man?’
What’s the story about? The main character is Richard. He’s a traveler and the story begins with him arriving in Bangkok. His starting point is Khao San Road which is apparently the in and out of thailand for backpackers. It’s in a Hostel at this road where he hears first about The Beach, an edenic place. Daffy Duck draws him a map. Etienne and Francoise, French hostel neighbours, join in and off they go. They find the beach (of course). But the paradise isn’t what it seems.
What did I think of the book? I was absorbed by it. I was so absorbed that all the background noise faded away while I was reading it. And that hasn’t happened for a while. I read some good books but being absorbed by a book seldom happens. It only does when the characters take me with them on their journey. I have pretty good visualization skills and a few pictures of the islands and bays of Thailand was all it took to develop my visual version of ‘The Beach’. It was a very edgy paradise, exactly the kind that I like.