This is the hilarious story of what happens when he discovers that the island is not the paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles with stifling heat, deadly bacteria, polluted seas, and toxic fish, in a country where the only music to be heard is "La Macarena". He and his stalwart girlfriend, Sylvia, contend with alarmingly large critters, a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis), and such bizarre local characters as "Half-Dead Fred" and the Poet Laureate of Tarawa, a British drunkard who's never written a poem in his life.
©2004 J. Maarten Troost; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"A comic masterwork of travel writing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Troost has a command of place and narrative that puts his debut in company with some of today's best travel writers." (Elle)
"A delightful, self-depreciating, extremely sly account of life in a place so wretched it gives new, terrible meaning to getting away from it all." (National Geographic Adventure)
I greatly enjoyed listening to this during my commute--it's a nice change of pace from "city life" and the author seems genuinely amiable. I'd like to buy him a beer, or at least a shell of kava, should we meet.
I'd been sick for three month with one of those new super bugs and with each new antibiotic that failed to work I fell into an even darker funk. This is likely why I decided to take a chance on this book, whose slightly risky title would normally make me avoid such a novel for fear it will be intolerably crass. I'm so glad I didn't miss out on this book, its not crass but charming. (Note: it does have bits that aren't child appropriate, some rather biological bits, i.e human waste or sex and things animals do or are done to them)
I laughed out loud, sometimes so hard that I had to briefly turn off the book for fear my laughter would make me miss one minute of listening joy.
I don't tend to buy humor books but this was such fun and so well written. The author does not sound like he has the IQ of a five year old as many humor authors do, yet is accessible on many levels. The British (?) accent of the narrator added to the humor in bits about the USA or in the way he pronounces American words. I also loved the historical and cultural portraits the author creates. I may have actually learned while I laughed.
Stoned with the Savages is fantastic as well but this is my favorite available on audible. A great listen for the car or any bad day. The only fault is how sorry you are when the book ends.
Avid reader with an inability to sit still... thank God for Audible :)
I live on a tropical island. I moved here from the US. I live just off the equator. I thought the author was going to give me an insight I didn't yet have into this life that, to me, we seemed to share through some small ties.
There are so many things I hoped this book contained - like insight. But what I heard, what I couldn't even get through, was all the complaining and political drivel about how shitty the US government was. There were a couple of interesting facts (the significant overcrowding of Tarawa for instance and what overcrowding does to 18 square miles - which, in one of his funnier statements, is the same size as some driveways in Illinois); sadly, there were far more *un*interesting, unhumourous facts mucking around in this book (such as the fact that the geckos living in their water tank ate the bugs there... Surprise! Geckos eat bugs).
The author suggested at one point that he and his girlfriend made friends on the island, but rather than talk about the people, how they met, funny instances of their learning about the locals, etc., the author spent no more than a few sentences on each of his "adventures", including such fascinating topics as "the missing beer", "the peeping toms", "the ocean of poop", and "the eyebrow quirks" (which he'd learned to interpret).
One example of the thrill this book contains: (just in case I'm too blah'ed out by this book for it to come across, that was supposed to be sarcasm)
The author tells you about a fence he built. He's very proud of this fence. His girlfriend
comes home, and, upon seeing said fence, asks "What's that?" [what did the author
make the latch out of]. He found it on the roof. It was a bit of old (very old) IV tubing. Still
full of blood. He unwound it. He threw it back on the roof. He wondered if he should wash
Wait for it... ... ... ...No, not really. It's not coming.
Even Simon Vance's fantastic voice and ability to enfold me in a story couldn't help this poor wretch hobble its way into my collection. It's going back.
So much opportunity, lost (quite possibly to the geckos in the author's water tank...).
School Librarian, Cybrarian, Voracious Reader and Lifelong Inquirer.
I'm not sure what I expected when I was steered to reading (or more accurately, listening to) this book for my monthly book club. But what a delightful surprise! Troost's literary voice is fact-filled yet witty, sometimes zany, in the style of Nick Hornby. His descriptions of the amazing contrasts found in this incredibly remote South Pacific atoll - bleak poverty, unthinkable sanitary conditions alongside endearing characters and unimaginable natural beauty - led me to seek out more information and photos of Tarawa and the rest of Kirabati (formerly known as The Gilbert Islands). Troost's often hilarious asides, read with droll Brithish-ness by narrator Simon Vance, had me laughing out loud more than once. If you like travelogue with a strong side dish of humor, I highly recommend this book!
Funny travel book that is witty, with a serious edge regarding the realities of these Islands. A humbling account of two years living on the equator. BTW has nothing to do with sex lives or cannibals so don't let the name distract you. Great narrator too.
Good story, writing, and narration. I learned a little, it made me think a little, laughed a little... I was entertained. Money well spent.
On more than, oh 100 or so, separate occasions I found myself, gut wrenched, banging on the steering wheel like a chimp beggin’ for peanuts, wiping the tears from my eyes with a coffee stained Starbucks napkin and nearly forgetting which pedal was the brake/gas/clutch while listening to this book...surely a spectacle to be seen in rush hour traffic...but there was no way to control it! If you like dry wit and intelligent humor you will not be able to stop listening to this book.
This is the first audiobook I just couldn't bear to finish.
The author clearly thinks of himself as a witty and clever guy, yet his writing reflects neither trait. There's nothing worse than someone who delivers lines as if they're comic gems, when in fact they're more along the lines of obvious and dull. The narrator does his best to inject humor into it, and for that he deserves a lot of credit.
It's a shame, because the story could have been great. One of the few bright spots was the description of the effects that nuclear testing has had on the Bikini Atoll region.
A great audiobook is one where you can't wait to hear the next installment. In this case, I couldn't wait for it to end.
audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.
One of my favorites. A must read NOW. Amazing writing, outstanding performance by Simon Vance, overall one of the most charming book I've listened to this year.
It is a really interesting, quirky and, at times, laugh-out loud funny memoir of one couple's experiences living on tiny island in the South Pacific. I made my husband listen even before I finished.
I don't know why I didn't listen sooner. Don't pass this up!
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