Readers and critics alike adore J. Maarten Troost for his signature wry and witty take on the adventure memoir. Read more...
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Readers and critics alike adore J. Maarten Troost for his signature wry and witty take on the adventure memoir. Hailed by "Entertainment Weekly" as a "funny, candid, and down-to-earth travel companion," Troost's bestselling debut, "The Sex Lives of Cannibals," is an enduring favorite about life in the South Seas.
"Headhunters on My Doorstep" chronicles Troost's return to the South Pacific after his struggle with alcoholism and time in rehab left him numb to life. Deciding to retrace the path once traveled by the author of "Treasure Island," Troost follows Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, the Gilberts, and Samoa, tumbling from one comic misadventure to another as he confronts his newfound sobriety.
Somewhere en route from the shark-infested waters of Fakarava to the remote islands of Kiribati, Troost gradually awakens to the beauty of life and reconnects with his family and the world. "Headhunters on My Doorstep" is a funny yet poignant account of one man's journey to find himself that will captivate travel writing aficionados, Robert Louis Stevenson fans, and anyone who has ever lost his way.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Newly sober travel writer Troost retraces Robert Louis Stevenson's route through the South Pacific from the Marquesas to Samoa in this evocative, funny literary memoir. He recounts his voyage upon the Aranui III cargo ship rooming with a seasick "family of cheerful gnomes from Lyon," battling the urge for a drink and acquiring a traditional Marquesan tattoo on the anniversary of his sobriety. Troost provides insight into addiction and recovery that, in his case, turned him from alcoholic to longdistance runner, and from Buddhism to the Catholic Church. We learn the history of the islands and view the beautiful landscapes of lagoons, atolls, and beaches through Troost's vibrant descriptions. Troost muses on quotes from Stevenson's In the South Seas, such as his thoughts on cannibalism, "to eat a man's flesh after he is dead is far less hateful than to oppress him whilst he lives." He also discusses other literary works about the South Pacific including Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl's Back to Nature and Herman Melville's Typee. Troost is an excellent travel narrator, clever, bold, and full of captivating visual details. His personal story of recovery is also powerfully told and will surely resonate with many readers. (Sept.)