The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific Paperback – Jun 8 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
At 26, Troost followed his wife to Kiribati, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific. Virtually ignored by the rest of humanity (its erstwhile colonial owners, the Brits, left in 1979), Kiribati is the kind of place where dolphins frolic in lagoons, days end with glorious sunsets and airplanes might have to circle overhead because pigs occupy the island's sole runway. Troost's wife was working for an international nonprofit; the author himself planned to hang out and maybe write a literary masterpiece. But Kiribati wasn't quite paradise. It was polluted, overpopulated and scorchingly sunny (Troost could almost feel his freckles mutating into something "interesting and tumorous"). The villages overflowed with scavengers and recently introduced, nonbiodegradable trash. And the Kiribati people seemed excessively hedonistic. Yet after two years, Troost and his wife felt so comfortable, they were reluctant to return home. Troost is a sharp, funny writer, richly evoking the strange, day-by-day wonder that became his life in the islands. One night, he's doing his best funky chicken with dancing Kiribati; the next morning, he's on the high seas contemplating a toilet extending off the boat's stern (when the ocean was rough, he learns, it was like using a bidet). Troost's chronicle of his sojourn in a forgotten world is a comic masterwork of travel writing and a revealing look at a culture clash.
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Although accustomed to globe trotting, Troost and his wife, Sylvia, were truly innocents abroad when they moved to the island of Tarawa in the South Pacific, where Sylvia had accepted a government position. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati--a republic of tiny atolls located just above the equator--and the place where Troost's dreams of paradise were shattered. Although Tarawa has much to offer, such as stultifying heat, dogged bureaucracy, toxic water, La Macarena, and the fantastic rituals of the I-Kiribati people, it lacks running water, television, restaurants, air-conditioning, and, the most crucial amenity, beer. Culture shock ensued for Maarten and Sylvia, and he chronicles their two years on Tarawa in a hilarious, sardonic travelogue. Among the more memorable episodes is the time a simple fishing trip turns into a hunt for a giant thresher shark and when Troost blasts a Miles Davis CD to combat the incessant repetition of La Macarena. Troost's mystified admiration for the I-Kiribati people shines through it all, and readers learn how humor itself can be a necessary tool for survival. Jerry Eberle
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Luckily I decided to check the book out for myself. Turns out the reviewer for "Islands" magazine wouldn't know a great read if one walked up and smacked him on the behind.
This is dedicated beach reading. I took the book with me to Gulf Shores last week and laughed aloud many times on the beach as I read it (almost in one sitting). Great style, great attention to details, great in capturing the maddening essence of living in a paradise gone mad.
Fans of tropic-themed tomes (you know who you are) will love this book.
This book is "light" meaning that you can easily read it and enjoy it at the pool or at the beach. I recommend an outside setting when you read it. It adds to the ambiance that is set up.
I recommend this story---and look forward to more if the author feels duty bound to write another in say, 10 years or so. Its an unusual type of book, but its worth the read. I'm sharing it with my friends and family!
One of my students asked to discuss some of the items in the chapter on government. I read this chapter and then bought the book. While the first two or three chapters were slow, I couldn't put this book down for the other 20.
Many of the points Troost makes about island life could apply to quite a number of other pacific islands. He doesn't provide any suggestions on how islanders could improve (refreshing given the large number of bad suggestions these nations have had over the years)and he sticks to relating snapshots of his life in and around the island.
This is a fun book to read.
Most recent customer reviews
Absolutely hilarious book - I haven't laughed this much reading any book!Published 14 months ago by Jososh
Thoroughly enjoyed this disrespectful saga of moving and then living in the Gilbert Islands. Love the sense of humour which is needed in Tarawa. Read morePublished on April 8 2008 by Madeleine Becker
I just finished reading this book and could not put it down. I wanted to tear through it and was sad when it was done! It made me want to run to an island to live.... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2005 by Danielle
This book is an excellent read, especially on the beach or by the pool. I could'nt put it down. Troost takes you on a journey of delight and terror all with a great sense of... Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2004 by Robert W. Rodger
This was a really funny, heart-warming book. The author has a very glib sense of humor and I can only hope we'll be reading more from him soon. Well done.
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