Monday, September 28, 2020

Eleven previously hip books that have not aged well

Hephzibah Anderson memoir Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year without Sex was published by Chatto & Windus in the UK, Penguin Viking in the US, and Editions Michel Lafon in France.

She is currently a columnist at Prospect magazine, feature writer for BBC Culture and Fiction Editor at the Mail on Sunday.

For BBC Culture she tagged eleven cult books that lost their cool, including:
The Beach by Alex Garland, 1996

You likely had to be there to even begin to get how The Beach exerted such a hold over its readers. ‘There’ being not its exotic location – an idyllic island off Bangkok – but the 1990s, when rave culture ruled. It was a moment ripe for this amphetamine-fuelled, hallucinogenic novel whose disaffected narrator has been given directions to a supposedly pristine Utopia. Here’s the catch: Richard is searching for a truly authentic experience, something that few even pretend to want any longer, preferring instead to enquire about what filter’s been used. Plus, who’d know what to do with a hand-drawn map these days?
Read about another entry on the list.

The Beach also appears on S J watson's list of six novels that could only take place at the seashore, Cat Barton's top five list of books on Southeast Asian travel literature, Kate Kellaway's ten best list of fictional holidays, Eleanor Muffitt top 12 list of books that make you want to pack your bags and trot the globe, Anna Wilson's top ten list of books set on the seaside, the Guardian editors' list of the 50 best summer reads ever, John Mullan's list of ten of the best swimming scenes in literature, and Sloane Crosley's list of five depressing beach reads.

--Marshal Zeringue