A Taste For Green Tangerines – Barbara Bisco

A Saucy Romp through the Rainforest

This book is subtitled ‘A Saucy Romp through the Rainforest’. On first glance I thought it was about food adventures in a rainforest; a revelation about using local plants, herbs and possibly insects as part of a meal interwoven with the usual drama that came along with a fictional novel. After reading the book, however, it became clear to me that ‘saucy’ was just a politically correct way of saying ‘raunchy’.

It depicts the adventures of an English anthropologist accepting her first real job studying the Dayak people over in the rainforests of Borneo with a rainforest conservation company. While the sauciness of her story is rife yet tastefully unremarkable, notable points of this book lie in the rich descriptions of the Dayak culture and its capacity to make you think about the pros and cons of mining and logging; and the socio economic versus conservation impacts of the two. This book is also unashamedly anti-government, probably with the aim of raising awareness of the amount of corruption going on in Indonesia particularly within the conservation (or lack thereof) context. However, having said that, Bisco also gives us insight into how locals might view this laxity in laws and why they might not be as supportive of conversation as some of us.

I can’t believe I’ve made the book sound like an essay on culture and conservation. It really isn’t. Most of it is about the anthropologist and her friends, a mystery at the campsite, lots of drama, lots of sauce and enough character development to keep you interested.

I’m not one to give the storyline away while writing a review. I hate reading the synopsis of a movie before I watch it – it’s too much like reading notes of the Great Gatsby at English class and writing an entire essay of it without having actually read the book. So I’m going to just rate the readability and other such aspects of the book and leave it at that.

Readability: 3/5

I’d read this over sleeping on a train (* * * )
Good for sitting on the loo (* * * *)
Something to read to help you fall asleep (* * *)
It’s like trying to read foreign language signs when you’re busting to go to the bathroom (*)

Thinkability: 4/5
Keepability: 1/5

– ant –