MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

The Sex Lives of Cannibals

Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

by J. Maarten Troost

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost X
The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The laugh-out-loud true story of a harrowing and hilarious two-year odyssey on the distant South Pacific island nation of Kiribati—possibly The Worst Place on Earth.

The laugh-out-loud true story of a harrowing and hilarious two-year odyssey in the distant South Pacific island nation of Kiribati—possibly The Worst Place on Earth.

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.

Chapter 1

In which the Author expresses some Dissatisfaction with the State of his Life, ponders briefly prior Adventures and Misfortunes, and with the aid of his Beguiling Girlfriend, decides to Quit the Life that is known to him and make forth with all Due Haste for Parts Unknown.

One day, I moved with my girlfriend Sylvia to an atoll in the Equatorial Pacific. The atoll was called Tarawa, and should a devout believer in a flat earth ever alight upon its meager shore, he (or she) would have to accept that he (or she) had reached the end of the world. Even cartographers relegate Tarawa either to the abyss of the crease or to the far periphery of the map, assigning to the island a kindly dot that still manages to greatly exaggerate its size. At the time, I could think of no better destination than this heat-blasted sliver of coral. Tarawa was the end of the world, and for two years it became the center of mine.

It is the nature of books such as these--the travel, adventure...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Troost is a writer to rival Bill Bryson, although less structured and more rambling. Having said that, his writing style, with long meandering sentences sometimes running on for 3-4 lines, is one that people will either love or hate. But don't be mistaken into thinking that this is a superficial book - there's considerable substance beneath the humor.

Media Reviews

Barnes & Noble
A brilliant comic writer, Troost paints crowded, polluted Tarawa in such compassionate detail that it's not a complete surprise when, after a couple of years back in the States working in well-paid, more comfortable environs, he and Sylvia decide to again brave paradise.

Publishers Weekly
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.

Booklist - Jerry Eberle
...a hilarious, sardonic travelogue.....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.

Reader Reviews

Lynn

This book was read by my book club. Although the beginning was a bit long-winded, and one person found the humor in that first part too sarcastic, as a whole we all loved it. It had humor, travelogue, daily life and history all woven into a fun ...   Read More

wendy

A real page turner... funny, interesting and entertaining!

Marc

Great and funny read!!!!!!!

Anna

I thought this book was hilarious! The scenes he writes about are easily imagined and often very comical. He honestly captures the harsh beauty and stark realities of island life. As one of the few Americans who has also travelled to the "end ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by J. Maarten Troost

If you liked The Sex Lives of Cannibals, try these:

  • Halfway to Heaven jacket

    Halfway to Heaven

    by Mark Obmascik

    Published 2010

    About this book

    When Mark Obmascik's twelve-year-old son gets bitten by the climbing bug, he can't resist the opportunity for some father-son bonding. But after their first joint climb, Obmascik decides to scale all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains - and to do them in less than one year.

  • Tales from the Torrid Zone jacket

    Tales from the Torrid Zone

    by Alexander Frater

    Published 2008

    About this book

    From one of the most celebrated travel writers at work today—a vibrantly observant, witty, utterly captivating account of a lifetime’s worth of travel between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: How to Build a Heart
    How to Build a Heart
    by Maria Padian
    Maria Padian is well-known for her motif of exploring teen reactions to social issues. Her novel ...
  • Book Jacket: Follow Me to Ground
    Follow Me to Ground
    by Sue Rainsford
    Ada and her father are human-like beings who age slowly and possess the power to heal all illness. ...
  • Book Jacket: Children of the Land
    Children of the Land
    by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    In this exquisitely crafted memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo describes coming of age as a young ...
  • Book Jacket: A Good Neighborhood
    A Good Neighborhood
    by Therese Anne Fowler
    After fictionalized biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald (Z, 2013) and Alva Vanderbilt (A Well-Behaved ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins

    A new American classic, and the first book to ever score a perfect 5-stars in BookBrowse's early reader program!
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Sun Down Motel
    by Simone St. James

    The chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.