(c) 2005-2007 Oliver Bonten
Restaurants and bars on Khao San Road in Bangkok and on Ko Phi Phi Don seem to play the movie every night. Backpackers in Thailand all have read the book, watched the movie, or both. Boats passing Ko Phi Phi Le almost capsize when all the girls rush to one side to see the very Beach where Leonardo di Caprio put his feet. And in the new Bridget Jones movie, on the plane to Bangkok, Sharon and the guy next to her both read this book. It's almost mandatory now for everybody going to Thailand, at least as long as he or she keeps his or her belongings in a backpack.
I hope a dive bag also counts as a backpack.
The movie isn't bad, but the book is much much better ... characters aren't as black and white as in the book, the story is much more believable. Under mysterious circumstances, a backpacker commits suicide and leaves a description of how to get to some sort of hidden backpacker paradise in the Gulf of Thailand to his neighbour in the guesthouse where he stays. This guy and some friends set out to find The Beach, and spend some time there.
But the backpacker colony on The Beach doesn't work as well as it appears. Underneath, hidden struggles for power, sympathies and antipathies, grow. The story evolves into a kind of horror story without anything supernatural or undead appearing - the worst kind of nightmare are other people. Hubris, misjudgement of the human nature, and some factual errors have fatal consequences, destroy the society, and in the end force our heroes to flee.
It is a very spooky story, some kind of adult "Lord of the Flies". Gave me the shivers with every new page, realising what kind of stupid things the heroes just had done. And after having met quite a few of the younger backpackers, I think it's absolutely realistic.
Dieses Buch wurde verfilmt als The Beach
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