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ASIA & THE PACIFIC
THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS:
Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
Author: J. Maarten Troost

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, and worst of all, no television or coffee. And that’s just the first day.

Sunburned, emaciated, and stinging with sea lice, Troost spends the next two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options. He contends with a cast of bizarre 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), and eventually settles into the ebb and flow of island life, just before his return to the culture shock of civilization.

With a rollicking wit and a hipster edge, this is the ultimate vicarious adventure. Readers may never long to set foot on Tarawa, but they’ll want to travel with Troost time and time again -- or maybe not.

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.
© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
$14.00 (softcover)
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Also by J. Maarten Troost:

Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation

 

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