Who wrote this book and when?
Alex Garland published this in 1996.

Has there been a film version?
Yes, starring Leonardo DiCaprio – although it’s a little different from the book plot-wise, and the character of Jed is completely missing.

Who are the important characters?
Richard – a British traveler who is looking for the ultimate experience
Etienne – a French young man who travels with Richard to the beach
Francoise – Etienne’s girlfriend, very opinionated, beautiful
Jed – a British man who is a loner, becomes friends with Richard
Keaty – a British young man who befriends Richard through his Gameboy, wants to be on fishing detail
Daffy (Duck) – the man who gives Richard the map to the beach
Sal – the leader of the Beach

What’s it about?
Richard is a traveller who is currently in Bangkok when he meets a strange Scotsman who goes by the name of Daffy Duck. Daffy leaves him a map to an elusive paradise-like beach, then commits suicide. It’s also in Bangkok where Richard meets the attractive French couple, Etienne and Francoise. Together, the three of them plan to follow Daffy’s map to the beach, hoping to find the ultimate traveling experience.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It’s reckoned to be “Generation X’s ‘Lord of the Flies’.”

Do I recommend you read this book?
Yes, but be prepared for some graphic material.

How did this book make my list?
My husband recommended it.

Has it won any awards?
Supposedly, but I can’t find any record of them. Let me know if you do.

Favorite quotes:
“As everyone knows, spaceships aren’t spaceships without little red bulbs. Everything else – the clever compartments, the rushing noise of the train’s engine/warp drive, the sense of adventure – was a happy complement” – p 33

Anything else?
I like the movie better than the book. Kind of sad, but true.

Personal thoughts:
I knew I was going to be reading an intense book after hearing about it from my husband and from Thea. And I pretty much knew a lot of what the book was going to contain having seen the movie version a few years ago. The book is different in tone from the movie, however, and this changes the story experience a great deal. I liked Richard a lot less, maybe because he’s a little crazier in the book and it’s hard for me to relate to crazy people when they’re in print. My mind is a bit too logical. I did love the rest of the characters, especially Etienne and Keaty – with whom I empathized. Overall, I enjoyed this book, and parts of it had me reading fantastically fast just trying to figure out what happened next – since I had a suspicion the ending was going to be different than the movie (it was…mostly). And I’m very impressed that this was Garland’s first novel. He seems to be an up and coming dystopian author…maybe I should recommend him to my sister…