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Pure Shores: Travel, Consumption, and Alex Garland's The Beach

From: MFS Modern Fiction Studies
Volume 50, Number 3, Fall 2004
pp. 551-569 | 10.1353/mfs.2004.0054


In its descriptions of a quest for an idyllic Thai lagoon, The Beach creates a romantic portrait of a space seemingly untouched by the homogenizing effects of consumption. As the novel develops, however, it becomes increasingly clear that this escapist dream is unsustainable. Starting with the recognition that Garland's characters find themselves reproducing the world they intended to leave behind, this essay considers the implications The Beach raises for the analysis of relationships between consumerism and escapism, and reflects upon the critical possibilities generated by the novel's representation of globalization.