Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Getting Stoned with Savages

Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by J. Maarten Troost was originally published in 2006. My paperback copy is 239 pages. This is an engaging book which provides a witty, funny, light, read. It's not a travel log, but rather an account of the author's experiences in Vanuatu and Fiji. I liked the long one sentence explanations for each chapter The shortest chapter title sentence is: "Chapter 4; In which the author is introduced to kava, which he likes very much, oh yes, very much indeed." The books title is derived from the drinking of kava. Although I haven't read Troost's first book, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, which generally seems to be considered better than Getting Stoned With Savages, this was an interesting entertaining book and I recommend it. The titles are a bit unfortunate, however. Just Me gave me that raised eyebrow look when she saw the titles of Troost's books on my list, but she did find this copy for me. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:
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 him 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.

"I have been called many things in my life, but if there has been but one constant, one barb, one arrow flung my way time after time, it is the accusation that I am, in essence, nothing more than an escapist." first sentence

"Begone, gray suits. I won't be needing you anymore. I'm off to an island nation where formal wear consists of a leaf tied around a penis." pg. 15

"When it comes to singing, Pacific Islanders would give Southern Baptists a run for their money." pg. 28

"[S]he had clearly adopted the tropical temperament: Stuff happens, but tomorrow the sun will rise again." pg. 40

"Oceania is a world of villages, each with its own rules and routines." pg. 43

"I was beginning to realize that kava is like the sausage of the Pacific. One doesn't really want to know how it was made." pg. 61

"The real appeal of the paper, however, was in its 'Mi herem say' section. This translates as 'I heard that...,' and this is where readers had an opportunity to share all the lascivious gossip they had acquired." pg. 78

"Cannibalism there was more like the cannibalism practiced by Jeffrey Dahmer: very disturbing." pg. 85

"What this conclusively proves, of course, is that mooning transcends culture. A display of the buttocks speaks a universal language." pg. 136

"For awhile we became amenable to the idea of having the child in Australia, despite worries that our son - we sensed he would be a boy - would grow up to have a predilection for wearing short-shorts well into adulthood." pg. 158

"Apparently while we were living abroad, someone had sent a missive to all Western women under the age of twenty-five: Put a large tattoo above your butt." pg. 193

1 comment:

samantha.1020 said...

I've been curious about this book. It sounds like something I might like so on to the TBR list it goes. Thanks!