Friday, July 23, 2010
Sex Lives of Cannibals
Sex sells. How else to explain that this book, published six years ago, is in the top 7500 of Amazon sales at the time of this posting? Well, there are some other ways to explain it. It's a pretty entertaining book. The author, who for some reason I picture as looking like Timothy Ferriss, heads off to the island of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean with his girlfriend. His girlfriend has landed a position as country director for the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, sort of a Peace Corpsesque operation.
The author, in Tim Ferriss fashion, never really finds employment and spends his time bodysurfing, looking for food and doing a bit of freelance work as he fails to write the novel he wants to write. He does, however, write an humorous travelogue about his adventures which is this book.
The title is a misnomer. There's not much about sex lives, and certainly none about those of cannibals. What there is is a lot of funny stuff on the harsh life of living in the equator, especially when you come from Scandinavian stock.
The harshness comes through quite a lot and the book sways from hilarious to sober. Troost has a definite gift for writing and he somehow finds light in the darkest moments.
I tried to think of whose humor Troost reminds me of and I really struggled. His is a somewhat unique voice. He is very detail oriented which helps portray the difficulties of living in such an unusual environment.
The number and length of the down times is what makes this a one-star book instead of a two for me. If the dips weren't as deep, I think it would still be enough contrast to be exceedingly witty.