I was highly suspicious of reading The Beach, having heard of it being 'a great film with De Caprio in it'. Not being a fan of Leonardo (this was before he starred in Catch me If you Can' etc etc.), I was going to give this a miss, before I got stuck in an aeroport and was forced to read it.
Garland creates beautiful scenery, great scenes of psychological and mental exploration, while touching on the ideas of the past, peace and ostricisation. The main character can be seen in many different lights; as both an idiot and a hero, as insane or perfectly normal, driven by a force stronger than himself.
So why not five stars?
In parts of the book, Garland does tend to drag out the sequences with Mr. Duck (read to understand!), and at the end I found myself wondering about what certain characters were actually like; his development of the background characters could have been better.
Despite these downfalls, Garland creates an excellent, fast-paced novel with an extremely sinister and well created ending. Definately worth a read