About Alex Garland
Books by Alex Garland
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Author, Alex Garland

Alex Garland

About Alex Garland

An Interview with Alex Garland

More About Alex Garland

Alex Garland is the author of the bestselling generational classic The Beach and of The Tesseract, a national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book. He also wrote the original screenplay of the critically acclaimed film 28 Days Later. I started traveling by accident, though the accident wasn't mine. One day, sometime around 1984, my parents read in the newspaper that a school trip had ended in tragedy. A kid (or maybe two kids) and a teacher had been killed while rock-climbing in Snowdonia. It so happened that Sam, the son of a family on my street, had also been on a school organized rock-climbing trip that weekend. Sam and I were at the same school. "Had Sam gone to Snowdonia?" my parents asked, worried. I said no. I didn't know for sure, because Sam was three years older than me and we weren't close friends. I just thought it was unlikely. But it turned out I was wrong. The school involved was my school, and Sam was on the expedition though, thankfully, he wasn't one of the people who died. It also turned out that the trip had been a practice for a more ambitious venture. Later that year, they were planning to climb a mountain in Kashmir, Northern India. Obviously, in light of the accident, the plan was abandoned. Or rather, delayed. In 1987 a school trip to Kashmir was reorganized--with two key differences as far as I was concerned. The first was that, not surprisingly, this time there was no intention to do any rock-climbing. The second was that I was now seventeen, and old enough to put my name down for inclusion. Our six weeks in India were busy. We packed in a lot--trekking in Ladahk, staying on a houseboat in Srinagar, seeing the Taj Mahal, Kargil, and the Red Fort. And we also went to the mountain that the Snowdonia group had been planning to scale. It was a strange experience. Strange enough, standing on a high glacier-covered pass, looking up at a mountain that had taken on a somewhat mythic quality. Stranger still, given that one of our accompanying teachers was a survivor of the Snowdonia expedition. As was one of the older boys. Except, 'strange' doesn't do the experience justice. In retrospect, 'strange' seems both too melodramatic and too blasé. Too melodramatic, because on the glacier we had a snowball fight, and we were as concerned with smoking a sly joint as absorbing the emotional weight of the situation. Too blasé because the landscape of Kashmir is amongst the most spectacular in the world, and you simply cannot overplay its beauty and grandeur. Whatever, I enjoyed the trip. It taught me some of the basics of self-reliance in foreign countries, it was the kick start for a further nine years of travel in Asia. Not to mention that ultimately it set me on the course of my career. Which leaves me in an odd position. On the one hand, I should be grateful for the trip to India. On the other hand, if there hadn't been the tragedy in Snowdonia, the trip to India probably wouldn't have happened. I'm not sure where that leaves me. Vaguely uncomfortable and morally confused, I suppose. Well, nothing new about that. Find Books by Alex Garland

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