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The Beach is the first novel of British author Alex Garland. First published in 1996.
Richard is a tourist who is bored with the lack of adventure in all the exotic countries where he tries to find it. He and two friends come into possession of a map. They discover a beautiful island beach where a small populace lives in secret. However, paradise never works; it isn't long before everything comes to a horrific climax.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The Moby song Porcelain fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the scene where Richard and his friends marvel at the beauty of the beach.
- Did Not Do Research: One of Richard's favorite places he travelled to is the Philippines, but the novel mispells "Boracay" as "Borocay", and reads "the rice terraces of Baguio", which is actually in Banaue.
- Enemy Within: Sal, whose desire to protect the Beach from the outside world reaches sociopathic heights, and is the main cause of most of the horrific events taking place at the climax of the novel.
- Richard unwittingly becomes this, what with slipping into madness - plus, his naïve desire for danger and adventure cloud his judgement and lead him and his friends into bad situations.
- Crazy Awesome: Daffy
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: The lovely Françoise.
- Holiday in Cambodia: The island houses a marijuana plantation, fortified by guards armed with automatic rifles.
- Mercy Kill
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Daffy, Bugs and Sal. The reader never learns Daffy or Bugs' real names.
- Only Sane Man: Étienne.
- Sanity Slippage
- Surfer Dude: Sammy and Zeph, at first; subverted when Richard cottons on that it's all an act in response to snobby European travellers.
- Squick: The food poisoning, tooth pulling, Christo's injury, the climax...
- The Multiverse: Discussed briefly just before they get to The Beach.
- The Tetris Effect: When Richard is in the jungle on he briefly sees everything as a video game with HUD, lives and enemies as obstacles.
- The Tooth Hurts: One of the inhabitants of the island needs to have a tooth pulled out, but he's not allowed to return to the mainland to have it done by a dentist.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sal.
- Underwater Kiss
- Utopia Justifies the Means