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The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the…

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific (original 2004; edition 2004)

by J. Maarten Troost

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Title:The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
Authors:J. Maarten Troost
Info:Broadway (2004), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost (2004)


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English (53)  Dutch (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
I am a firm believer that true stories are wilder than any fiction the highly paid minds in Hollywood can come up with and Troost proves this, in an entertaining way, as he takes the reader through his metamorphosis of a stunned 20-something American from Washington DC trying to fit in and understand the local population of a small atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean into an islander. I had to look up the location of Kiribati on the map and, thanks to Google, I now know that this tiny chain of islands is due south of Hawaii and couldn't be more smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, almost as if someone had picked them islands up and placed them there. I like travelogues to be informative, witty and detailed enough to really give the reader an insight into day-to-day life. Troost does this in spades. I will admit that I struggled with the first couple of chapters when I thought I was in for, you know, one of those cheap "I don't know what to do with my life beyond aimlessly drifting from job to job and country to country" kind of drivel writing, but once Maarten and Sylvia had reached Tarawa and Maarten started to investigate where they had chosen to move to, it opened up into a more insightful read with segues into nuclear and chemical testing conducted in the South Pacific, that childhood dysentery is what first world aid should focus on (and not AIDS counseling) and the sad irony that garbage was never a problem - although sanitation was - until first world items like plastic bags, tinned corned beef, beer in cans and disposable diapers found their way to the region. Where exactly does one create a landfill - a first world solution to the problem - on an atoll?

A read/audiobook well worth experiencing for Troost's delightful wit and uncanny ability to capture the "what the ......" nuances of trying to assimilate into island life, with the hope of not always being the complete laughingstock of the natives. ( )
  lkernagh | Aug 3, 2015 |
Troost shares his experiences of the two years he spent on Tarawa, a tiny island lost in the middle of the Pacific, where his girlfriend was employed by an NGO aid organization, and he was employed not writing a novel. Tarawa, and the nation of Kiribati to which it belongs, is a place with a lot of problems: overcrowding, poverty, pollution, bad government, disease. But Troost writes with a real fondness for the place and the people, and with a lot of often self-deprecating humor, making this a delight to read, even if I'm glad not to be the one having lived it. (Because, seriously, nobody should have to dig flies out of their wounds. Nobody.) ( )
2 vote bragan | Sep 25, 2014 |
Some funny, not a top pick. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Though this book has a WASPy start and a fizzle of a finish, the stories that make up it's core more than compensate. Years after the fact, THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS still comes up regularly in conversation, a fantastic peak at two young Americans adapting to a world completely outside their comfort zone. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
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For Sylvia and Lukas
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One day, I moved with my girlfriend Sylvia to an attoll in the Equatorial Pacific.
Still, I tried to teach the dogs to growl menacingly at anyone in pants. Only Mormon missionaries wore pants in Tarawa.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0767915305, Paperback)

At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.” He and his stalwart girlfriend Sylvia spend the next two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life).

With The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Maarten Troost has delivered one of the most original, rip-roaringly funny travelogues in years—one that will leave you thankful for staples of American civilization such as coffee, regular showers, and tabloid news, and that will provide the ultimate vicarious adventure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The author discusses his two-year stay on a remote South Pacific island, a place where he anticipated a romantic paradise but instead experienced humorous misadventures and a host of environmental challenges.

(summary from another edition)

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