Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Written for the Road

THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS tells the story of J. Maarten Troost, a man who followed his wife, Sylvia, to Kiribati, a small island nation in the South Pacific. Troost and Sylvia were no strangers to world travel, but when Sylvia accepted a two-year government contract to work in Kiribati, the two could never have expected what they were about to find. Kiribati was a place that time forgot. It was polluted; had extremely hot temperatures; natives that were more than restless people. While Sylvia worked for her non-profit organization, Troost had hopes of writing a great literary masterpiece. However, Troost had plenty of distractions. Kava (a traditional drink that can make one hallucinate), the equatorial heat, the repetitive blasting of the song “La Macarena,” and natives going to the bathroom (number 1 and 2) in front of him. These were just some of many reasons why writing was hard to come by. Nevertheless, the outcome of Troost’s two-year stint in Kiribati became a very funny, well-written travel book that reveals a forgotten world and the true meaning of culture clash.

Having visited Fiji, I found THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS very interesting. When I was in the South Pacific I often wondered what it would be like to live on one of its many islands. Thanks to Troost, I got a taste of what living on Kiribati would be like, and I can safely say, it is a most intriguing island, with people who seem genuine, but I would never want to live there.

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