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Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatuby J. Maarten Troost
Synopses & Reviews
From the bestselling author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals, the laugh-out-loud true story of his years on the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji, among cannibals, volcanoes...and the world's best narcotics.
With The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Maarten Troost established himself as one of the most engaging and original travel writers around. Getting Stoned with Savages again reveals his wry wit and infectious joy of discovery in a side-splittingly funny account of life in the farthest reaches of the world. After two grueling years on the island of Tarawa, battling feral dogs, machete-wielding neighbors, and a lack of beer on a daily basis, Maarten Troost was in no hurry to return to the South Pacific. But as time went on, he realized he felt remarkably out of place among the trappings of twenty-first-century America. When he found himself holding down a job — one that might possibly lead to a career — he knew it was time for he and his wife, Sylvia, to repack their bags and set off for parts unknown.
Getting Stoned with Savages tells the hilarious story of Troost's time on Vanuatu — a rugged cluster of islands where the natives gorge themselves on kava and are still known to "eat the man." Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes and soon finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. When Sylvia gets pregnant, they decamp for slightly-more-civilized Fiji, a fallen paradise where the local chiefs can be found watching rugby in the house next door. And as they contend with new parenthood in a country rife with prostitutes and government coups, their son begins to take quite naturally to island living — in complete contrast to his dad.
"Using a format similar to that of his previous work, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Troost creates another comical and touching travel memoir. Troost and his wife, Sylvia, move from busy Washington, D.C., to Vanuatu, a nation made up of 83 islands in the South Pacific. As Sylvia works for a regional nonprofit, Troost immerses himself in the islands' culture, an odd mix of the islanders' thousand-year-old 'kastoms' along with imperialist British and French influences. This really means that Troost gets to live in a nice house while he gets drunk on kava; dodges 'a long inferno of magma and a cascade of lava bombs' at the 'world's most accessible volcano'; and checks out the 'calcified' leftovers from one of Vanuatu's not-so-ancient traditions, cannibalism. At the end of the book, the couple move to Fiji so that Sylvia will have state-of-the-art medical care when she gives birth to their first baby. While modern-day Fiji provides little fodder for Troost's comic sensibilities, the birth of his son enables him to share some deeper thoughts and decide it is 'time to stop looking for paradise.' A funny travelogue with a sentimental heart, Troost's latest work genuinely captures the search for paradise as well as the need for home. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Troost...is a travel writer who delivers the gratifying, old-school goods: curious cultural practices; encounters with venomous, nay murderous, creatures; perspective on recent history, with all the chaos wrought by European interlopers." Kirkus Reviews
"For those readers sitting in offices, yearning to break free and live on a tropical isle, this book provides a wonderful, witty view into the experience — the good and the bad." Library Journal
About the Author
J. Maarten Troost recently returned from his years in Vanuatu and Fiji. He, his wife, and their two children live in Sacramento, California.
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