Archive for the ‘Cannonball Read’ Category
Everyone knows someone like the nameless narrator in former SNL writer Patricia Marx’s Him Her Him Again The End of Him. Our nameless heroine starts an absolutely neurotic twenty-one-year-old college grad student, trying to decide on what the subject of her thesis is. While at Cambridge, she stumbles upon a loquacious cad named Eugene. Everyone has those ludicrously-bad college boyfriends, but no one can top Eugene. He’s possibly one of the most obnoxious fops I’ve ever read: an absolute narcissist incapable of using monosyllabic words, whom is quick to remind everyone around him of his beloved almost-nominated-for-a-Nobel-prize grandfather. Of course, eventually Eugene and the narrator break up, and then her neurosis reaches galactic proportions.
“I make quick judgments, often completely wrong, and then stick by them rigidly”. – Alex Garland; The Beach
Most people who have ever done any back-packing or travelling can agree on one thing: tourists fucking suck. Hell, you can just stay in a tourist-laden area for long enough, and you’ll probably be able to agree. They’re loud and obnoxious, and most of them have some sense of entitlement, but unfortunately a lot of people rely on them for money and survival. Hence the impetus of Alex Garland’s first novel, The Beach. We meet a couple of young, attractive, European backpackers in Thailand that are willing to follow a map that has been given to them by a crazy, suicidal man named Daffy Duck, which allegedly leads to a hidden island in the Gulf of Thailand. Yeap, they’ll listen to people who’re named after cartoon characters just to have that unique, pure, unadultered-by-tourists vacation. Of course, these people will tell you that certainly they’re not tourists, but it is hard for some people to see their own reality.
But, unlike everyone else that’s ever reviewed this book, including Nick Hornby, who sums it up as “a Lord of the Flies for Generation X” on the book jacket (That bastard, he’s so good at perfectly saying exactly what I want to say. Damn you Hornby, I’ll get the best of you one day!), I’m going to get through this review without one single reference to William Golding’s classic novel. Now for a brief run-through of the nitty-gritty. Continue Reading »