** Imperium by Christian Kracht

Until I read Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas, I did not know that Germany used to have a presence in what is now Papua New Guina, an island called New Pomerania, which is the setting for the novel. Starring a lunatic young man who believes that eating coconuts and running around naked will bring health and happiness, it follows this real, but heavily massaged voyage to the Pacific and eventual death on a small island off New Pomerania, conveniently comprised of a coconut plantation. The story is different and farcical. Its end is truly bizarre, and since it’s the part of the story that was totally invented by the author, it makes one wonder.

The rest of the book can be enjoyably read while thinking about today’s fad diet aficionados…


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