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Fantasized about quitting the 9-5? Walking away from credit card debt and student loans? Think living in the South Pacific for two years sounds like a perfect solution and perhaps even a winning idea for your first novel? Maarten Troost does just that, setting up as a devil-may-care islander while his girlfriend, Sylvia, gets to work on saving the planet, or at least a little part of it on an end-of-the-world atoll, Tarawa.
Life on Tarawa resembles not so much paradise as a theatre of the absurd where planes fly with the aid of masking tape, Coconut Stalinism prevails as national government and Sylvia is co-opted by the CIA to spy on the Chinese. But abandoning continental hang-ups like barbequeing the local dogs and watching on as international industrial fishing trawlers plunder the world's richest tuna supply aren't so easy. Perhaps only by following the locals and letting go, one just might find a better way to live...