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

by J. Maarten Troost

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,736687,611 (3.87)1 / 119
Let me say at the top that I didn't have a particularly good reason for moving to Tarawa, a small island in the Republic of Kiribati. There was nothing Quaker-ish, Thoreau-ish or even Gaughin-ish about my taking a little leave from western civilisation which I though was fine mostly, particularly as manifested ion certain parts of Italy...To picture Kiribati, imagine that the continental US were to conveniently disappear, leaving only Baltimore and a vast swathe of very blue ocean in its place. Now chop up Baltimore into 33 pieces, place a neighbourhood where Maine used to be, another where California once was, and so on until you have 33 pieces of Baltimore dispersed in such a way that 32/33 Baltimorians will never attend an Orioles game again. Now take away electricity, running water, toilets, television, restaurants, building and aeroplanes (except for two very old prop planes tended by people who have no word for 'maintenance'). Replace with thatch. Flatten all the land into a uniform two feet above sea level. Toy with Islands by melting polar ice caps. Add palm trees. Sprinkle with hepatitis A, B and C. Stir in dengue fever and intestinal parasites. Take away doctors. result is the Republic of Kiribati, a hard paradise, where despite an unwavering fondness for continents, I soon found myself at home.' J. Maarten Troost spent two trying years in his island paradise. This is his story.… (more)
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» See also 119 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Don’t let the title scare you (or entice you). It was probably the Publisher's idea (or perhaps the author's) to get your attention. But the book is more a PG-13 humorous travel / adventure book about a two-year stint on a third world island chain than anything titilating about sex or cannibals. His travel / adventure takes place in the island country of Kiribati (yes, it really exists. I believe its the island group previously known at the Gilbert Islands, lying in the cross hairs of the equator and the International Date Line). In our world of readily available foods and goods, it's interesting to see a little of how so many other peoples live. The writing style isn't necessarily one of classic literature, but sounds more like it's written by your funny neighbor. And that made it easy to relate to, more human and personal. It's an enjoyable story, with humorous situations, worth a summer read at the beach.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
This story is quite amusing and reminds me of the quirky anomalies we find in cross-cultural experiences, especially in developing countries. It finds the humor in mistaken assumptions about what initially appear to be romantic ideas --now freshly debunked. As a far-flung traveler who has dealt extensively with the potential unpleasantries of travel and reinterpreted them for the adventures they offer, this book speaks to my adventurous spirit and sense of humor. ( )
  WendyHinman | Aug 13, 2020 |
Really interesting and quite funny! It's likely that I'll pick up Troost's books on Fiji and China at some point, too. ( )
  KristinaSimon | Nov 24, 2018 |
Okay, right up front, this is NOT a NSFW book. Its a very funny travel book, the subtitle of which is "Adrift in the Equatorial". Maarten was finishing up his graduate degree in Eastern European International Relations. His girlfriend was getting her's in Western Europe. And logically with their background and education they decide to move to the middle of the Pacific to the island of Tarawa (part of the nation of Kiribati). She, to run an NGO aid origanization and he, to write a book. This book.

A island paradise this ain't. Heat, disease, entirely too much "La Macarena" and a cast of characters that while funny and interesting, did not make me want to visit the South Pacific. A great read!

To picture Kiribati, imagine that the continental US were to conveniently disappear laving only Baltimore and a vast swath of very blue ocean in its place. Now chop up Baltimore into 33 pieces, place a neighborhood where Maine used to be, another where California once was... Take away electricity, running water, television...Add Palm Trees, sprinkle with hepatitis A, B, and C, add in dengue fever and parasites.
Take away doctors, isolate and bake and a constant temperature of 100 degrees. The result is the Republic if Kiribati.

About surfing - "Look for a wave shaped like an A." An A. Hmm. I saw Zs and Ws and Vs. I saw the Hindi alphabet and the Thai alphabet.
I saw Arabic script. I saw no As. Finally I gave up, and chose the next wave that would have me, which turned out to be a poor move.
The demon wave picked me up, and after that I have only a very vague recollection of spinning limbs, a weaponized surfboard, chaotic white water, all kind of churning together over a reef. I decided this was not for me.

It is often said that Americans have no sense of history. Ask a college student who Jimmy Carter was and they will likely reply that he was a general in the Civil War, which occurred in 1492, when Americans dumped tea in the Gulf of Tonkin, sparking the First World War, which ended with the invasion of Grenada and the development of the cotton press. Actually, I would be impressed with that answer. The more likely response is "Who the F*#% cares?

9/10

S: 7/25/18 - 8/5/18 (12 Days) ( )
  mahsdad | Sep 30, 2018 |
A wonderful self-deprecating humorous book.

Those who like the genre it falls in would not get a better read. ( )
  jaeger84 | Jan 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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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.
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Let me say at the top that I didn't have a particularly good reason for moving to Tarawa, a small island in the Republic of Kiribati. There was nothing Quaker-ish, Thoreau-ish or even Gaughin-ish about my taking a little leave from western civilisation which I though was fine mostly, particularly as manifested ion certain parts of Italy...To picture Kiribati, imagine that the continental US were to conveniently disappear, leaving only Baltimore and a vast swathe of very blue ocean in its place. Now chop up Baltimore into 33 pieces, place a neighbourhood where Maine used to be, another where California once was, and so on until you have 33 pieces of Baltimore dispersed in such a way that 32/33 Baltimorians will never attend an Orioles game again. Now take away electricity, running water, toilets, television, restaurants, building and aeroplanes (except for two very old prop planes tended by people who have no word for 'maintenance'). Replace with thatch. Flatten all the land into a uniform two feet above sea level. Toy with Islands by melting polar ice caps. Add palm trees. Sprinkle with hepatitis A, B and C. Stir in dengue fever and intestinal parasites. Take away doctors. result is the Republic of Kiribati, a hard paradise, where despite an unwavering fondness for continents, I soon found myself at home.' J. Maarten Troost spent two trying years in his island paradise. This is his story.

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