• The Sex Lives of Cannibals

  • Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
  • By: J. Maarten Troost
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (1,347 ratings)

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The Sex Lives of Cannibals

By: J. Maarten Troost
Narrated by: Simon Vance
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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)

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What listeners say about The Sex Lives of Cannibals

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

HILARIOUS

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.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Funny? No. Annoying? Yes.

This is the first audiobook I just couldn't bear to finish.

Here's why:

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.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Does it get better than this?? A+++

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!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Only slightly amusing

I didn't think this book was nearly as hilarious as other people did. It was a little more historical in parts than I had anticipated, which seemed to drag on at length. The funny parts were humorous, but did not sustain the book. The narrator's dull tone carries on relentlessly and drips with sarcasm, which became more than a little annoying at times. The author is also a very big fan of himself. He metaphorically pats himself on the back quite a few times. Also, his criticism of Americans did not sit well with me. I don't consider myself as being overly patriotic, but I found his condescension to be rude and unapologetic. If you are looking for a simple book with a few amusing parts and a good bit of historical and geographic information, then this is the one for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Laugh out loud and feel good all day

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.
Great book!
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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Zzzzzzz

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
his hands.

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...).

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful