Via Christian Kracht’s Imperium we head back to the South Seas to revisit the nudist vegetarians of Kabakon Island. Rather than playing around with a fictitious murder mystery amongst the sparse facts of the Cocovores as Adrian McKinty did in The Son is God, Kracht focuses on their leader, August Engelhardt, and generating tracts of clever writing. The clever writing is quite clever, but occasionally, it is a bit much.

The story is of Engelhardt’s path to Kabakon, followed by his time and demise there. Sprinkled in are some possibilities and/or improbabilities used to enhance the story of guy who ate coconuts and sun bathed all day. Living the dream, but not much action for a writer to work with.

So, Kracht or McKinty? Imperium is certainly better written and would appeal more to a book snob, but the pages in McKinty’s tale do get turned mighty quickly. It’s a draw. Either one will provide a history and geography lesson.


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