Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu (Review)

Book cover for "Getting Stoned with Savages" by J. Maarten Troost.Title: Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

Author: J. Maarten Troost

Narrator: Simon Vance

Publication Year: 2006

Pages: 256 (audio length: 7 hours 30 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Travel, Memoir

Source: Audiobook purchased from

From the cover:

After two grueling years on the island of Tarawa, Troost was in no hurry to return to the South Pacific until he began to feel remarkably out of place in modern America. He knew it was time to set off again for parts unknown. Here he tells the story of his time on Vanuatu, a cluster of islands where he struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes but finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. When his wife Sylvia gets pregnant, they decamp for slightly more civilized Fiji, a fallen paradise rife with prostitutes and government coups, where their son takes quite naturally to island living.

I have to be honest here: I’m semi-hopelessly behind on reviews. I think that I finished reading this book back in … October? Or maybe late September? the very end of October. So there’s very little that I remember in the way of specifics.

Having said that, here are my brief thoughts on Getting Stoned with Savages: I liked it just as much as Troost’s other books (Lost on Planet China: One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation and The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific), with probably the same general thoughts. I remember reading it with a fondness most like how I felt after reading The Sex Lives of Cannibalsh probably means that I liked it a fair bit. Mostly, I enjoy Troost’s style of narration and his sense of humour. Also, I remember there being a bit more Sylvia (his wife) in this book, which was a good thing. It was nice to see her perspective a bit more of the time.

So, if you’ve read his other books, definitely give this one a go! If you haven’t read The Sex Lives of Cannibals, though, I recommend that you read it first. Getting Stoned with the Savages comes pretty close after it in chronology, and it’s good to have Tarawa as a reference point when reading about his take on Vanuatu.


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