Headhunters on My Doorstep by J. Maarten Troost

headhunters on my doorstepPublished by Gotham, June 2014 (originally published January 2013) ***

Having read all of Troost’s previous books, I was mildly disappointed in his latest endeavor. It seems like a mishmash of ideas that aren’t entirely cohesive. There’s the narrative of his own travels, which he justifies as an attempt to follow Robert Louis Stevenson’s route through the South Pacific. Then there is his own struggle with alcoholism and his determination to maintain sobriety. Add a diatribe about rising sea levels due to consumerism and carbon emissions, his new addiction to running, and the socioeconomic history of the various islands he travels to, and the book is disharmonious.

I was more intrigued by Troost’s tales of alcoholic woe than his exploits in the South Pacific. The recollections of how his drinking spiraled into addiction and his stint in rehab are where he is the most honest and funny. Speaking of humor, it’s not as biting and in-your-face here. Perhaps quitting drinking affected his sense of humor. Another puzzling thing I noteiced was the subtitle: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story. OK, where’s the ghost? Is this referring to RLS? Or the populations of the islands that have lost their culture do to westernization? It’s misleading. Otherwise, it was another chapter in Troost’s misadventures with a bit of history about Mr. Stevenson for good measure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

Also by J. Maarten Troost:

2 responses to “Headhunters on My Doorstep by J. Maarten Troost

  1. I’m serving jury duty today, and I have a copy of this in my handbag. Now I’m a bit nervous. Luckily I brought my laptop and kindle too… Though, having read none of his other books perhaps I’ll enjoy it? The expectations can be a killer.

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