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Are You Experienced? [Paperback]

4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book was one I couldn't put down. When my partner told me about her experience in India I wondered... was it because she was a woman, was it her take on India, the space she was in mentally or is it really truly India. I wasn't convinced that India could be so comical at times and trying at others.... such a huge difference between the highs and lows she described seemed unreal to me.

However after reading "are you experienced" I realized it wasn't only through her eyes. It is truly India and all it's glory.

This book explains the trials and tribulations in a fun and witty way. It is one you won't be able to put down, at least I couldn't. His experience from the minute he lands in India to the moment he lands back home in England is at times unbelievably funny and at others leaves you feeling so sorry for him, to the point you want to rescue him.

Yet at the end of the book I had a desire greater than before reading the book to book a flight and start my own journey into getting experienced!
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5.0 out of 5 stars catharsis delayed Oct. 21 2002
By A Customer
Having returned from basically the same Indian scene 25 years ago and never having fully recovered, this book was an emetic beyond its own description of one (mild dysentery). Though I've returned to India many times, my first experience was exactly as Sutcliffe describes. The insular, flaming arrogance of the privileged kids that come and go, learning nothing but from each other, is apparently a part of the Indian economy and may one day even become a sect unto itself. Holy it is to wrap yourself in brightly colored rags, hari om, and live for nothing, hari om, till the next check clears, hari om. A culture rich in music that defies description, in exalting dance, they will never know, but only return to the West deserving their memories of the canned, tinny Hindi pop that's blasted in the markets, and the vulgar billboards that advertise an addiction to cliches. How many more bored dilettantes will it take to convince India of its shallowness and two-dimensionality?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Are you experienced? I am now! Jan. 29 2002
By Matilda
Very funny and witty from the start. Personally, as someone who has travelled her fair share, this book made me laugh endlessly as it picks on the pretentious attitude of some travellers. The 'I'm travelling to find myself' spiel that they spout on about when you find yourself sharing a hostel room with one of them. I thought this book was to the point and should be shoved in the face of anyone who thinks they can just mosey on down to India and gorp at the locals! Good story, good laugh, well worth the read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A romp of a novel! Aug. 28 2001
Despite having been a language major in college, I'm just now starting my global travels as an adult and can begin to appreciate the stories and attitudes in this novel. Sutcliffe captures the essences of the different types of stereotypical travelers. This book is laugh out loud funny!
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If you were ever a teenager involved in backpacking and trekking; a flower child in search of peace, love, and spiritual fulfillment; a traveler to India adventurous enough to go off the regular tourist trails; or the parent of any of these, you will love this wickedly satirical tale of two callow 19-year-olds who decide to spend a few months of their gap year backpacking around India in search of experience and enlightenment. With so many summaries already on the site, I'll forgo writing another one, but this book, unlike so many others that critics tout as "hilarious," but which regular readers find only mildly amusing at best, really IS hilarious!
As Dave and Liz smugly "experience India," we see how shallow their involvement is, how much they are acting and trying on roles to see if they fit, how much this trip is a way to avoid boredom, and how, lemming-like, they do what everyone else does, staying in the same hostels, following the same itinerary, and searching for "meaning" in outrageously off-the-wall activities, the chief attraction of which is that they take place in a foreign country.
Sutcliffe does not hold back in his satire, but he is not mean-spirited. The reader can easily imagine that this novel evolves from some of Sutcliffe's own amusing experiences or those of some of his friends. He is laughing with, rather than laughing at. Most readers will probably not have pursued enlightenment in the extreme ways that Dave and Liz do, but most of us will see ourselves at nineteen mirrored in their naivete and gullibility. In laughing at them, we are also laughing at ourselves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ripping July 31 2001
Great fun. Those who didn't like it probably fall into two catgories: people who expect to see fully fleshed out characters in every novel they read, and those who recongize the stereotypes a little TOO well. The story is largely based on characature, but it's satire - what do you expect?
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3.0 out of 5 stars ...please go beyond the backpacking hype! July 2 2001
I just finished this book after reading Sutcliffe's "Love Hexagon", which I thought was brilliant. However, this one was a bit of a disappointment.
Having done extensive traveling around the world in my gap year at the age of nineteen I am absolutely sure that my behavior and thoughts went beyond Dave's, the books main character. The book deals with too many stereotypes (these are actually out there among those backpackers) and lacks the more sophisticated British humour found in the "Love Hexagon". India deserves a more "normal" portrait and so does traveling with a backpack, which you use to carry your things around in an efficient and convenient manner. There are enough incidents that provoke laughs and fantastic surprises!!!
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