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Publisher's Summary

At age 26, Maarten Troost decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to a remote South Pacific island. The idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. But he should have known better.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall


I listen to audio books at night in part to lull me to sleep. This book, however, caused the opposite problem: I laughed so hard during the entire book that it kept me awake. The merriment issuing from my side of the bed had to be a trial for my poor, sleep-deprived husband. The author is a Brit, which may provide a cultural explanation for some reviewers' complaints, but it's difficult to imagine anyone not appreciating his wit--or the narrator's excellent performance.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Eliza
  • Maynard, MA, USA
  • 11-06-08


This was my first audible book and I loved it. The visual descriptions were fantastic, it made me laugh out loud. I was so into it I listened even when I wasn't in the car! The narrator was great and easy to hear and understand. There weren't a lot of voices or accents which I appreciated.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ron
  • Lecanto, FL, USA
  • 02-24-08

A hilarious surprise

Sometimes you just take a chance on a book.. The title isn't one you'd normally reach for, it's in a different genre than you usually read but something just catches your attention and you take a chance.
I did just that with Sex Lives of Cannibals and it tuned out to be one of the funniest books I've had in awhile. I found myself chuckling and laughing throughout it.
While the author does exaggerate and fictionalizes at times, who cares? This is a tongue in cheek book not a critical travel piece on the Pacific.
The narrator is terrific (though I never did get the logic of having an Englishman read for a New Yorker) and funny.
Take this book as offered, don't analyze it just enjoy it and you're bound to be entertained.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Heather
  • san Mateo, CA, USA
  • 01-29-08

Funny stuff

I really enjoyed the dry humor of this book and the funny spin the author could put on just about any situation. I laughed out loud quite often, and even more the second time I listened to it about 7 months later. I also found his observations on island life candid and informative. Having traveled a bit myself in 'out of the way places' I understand that the fantasy of "getting away from it all" is just that, and I enjoyed hearing the trials and tribulations of daily life on an island on the equator. Somewhat graphic at times, but that is what made the story so vivid. I highly recommend this book if you like offbeat humor. I enjoy Anthony Bourdain as well. The narrator was very enjoyable to listen to as well.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dann
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 07-03-13

POOP, the order of the day in this book.

I wanted to like this book but it had so many emphasis on poop and other related vomit wrenchers that I started to feel like this guy decided to see if he could survive living in a toilet. Frankly, I have seen these scenes and I never want to visit them again. I didn't find this story endearing at all, but just one toilet scene after another.

If you've ever seen film of the poor sections of India, this book is just about that gross.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very Funny

The narrator, Simon Vance, moves this book from mildly diverting to something closer to wonderful. The story of the slacker boyfriend accompanying accomplished partner to remote Pacific Island is a classic of the literary form. Probably a big hit among the development economist set. Think I'll have to read the rest of the Troost/Vance oeuvre.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

All Cannibals - No Sex

The Title of this book was obviously selected by the publisher to generate more interest, but nonetheless it doesn't diminish the fact that it's terribly entertaining and funny. The "Cannibals" in the title doesn't refer to the native islanders but rather to the American author and his girlfriend. For some reason the children of the island appear to be undully afraid of the new strangers. The author later finds out it's because the natives tell their children if they don't behave, the foreigners will eat them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Exremely entertaining!

Kept me riveted! Troost has a great sense of humor. I actually learned quite a bit in the process of laughing my head off! Looking forward to listening to it a second time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cara
  • Minden, NV, USA
  • 07-26-09

LOVED this book!

Every aspect of this book engaged me - the historical and cultural tidbits, Maarten's account of his experience on the island, but most of all, the relentless humor and wit with which it was all presented. I found myself wanted it to go on and on!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kim
  • Anderson, SC, United States
  • 09-21-08

Highly entertaining

The voice of the narrator is superb. Very funny!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful