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Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram (2003)

by Gregory David Roberts

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shantaram (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,6421941,118 (4.15)1 / 293
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  8. 01
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    Limelite: Another sweeping story about the lives of the poor in Mumbai set during the same time period but told by an Indian narrator rather than a white Australian.
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English (178)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
There is a first time for everything. I was asked to review Shantaram because What Is Past Is Dead, my own contemporary short story about joining freedom fights, according to this reader, has a similar story or sense of story if you like. I am not going to comment on that at this time as this is a review of Shantaram and it's a thousand versus sixty pages.
Shantaram is a very good read! Period! There is no question about that. It's poetically written and GDR's voice runs along the whole book. It IS full of cliches though and although I personally feel they are pointless, the author seems to love them. They don't detract from the story though. The book is big, almost 1000 pages. In parts it drags on, simply drags on - about the marble decorations on the walls of old buildings or about how street life is unfolding - to an extent I began skimming those parts about a third into the book. Almost every chapter begins with a longer description of some sort. If you're into that kind of stuff, great, if not, skim. Again it doesn't detract. It's a great great story. The detraction is the final parts of the book, which are without a doubt far fetched and were also later admitted to be so by the author himself. As someone who has covered war and conflict, and witnessed how those are only grusome with only the human hope as a light, the romanticising of war scenes and cliches in those took away the 5th star. The authentic voice faded away in those chapters. Nonetheless I recommend Shantaram as an extremely entertaining and thoughtful read. GDR is a very talented writer with a good heart. And he wrote without considering fame and fortune. And that's why this will always be an excellent read. It's really 4.5 stars. Enjoy. ( )
  mmmorsi | Aug 24, 2018 |
Extraordinary novel, adventure filled tale of Bombay and it's inhabitants. Great philosophical though on love, suffering, freedom and life. ( )
  lkuttenkuler | Jul 25, 2018 |
Vanaf de eerste zin stoof dit boek binnen in mijn top 5 ( )
  EchtpaarInDeTrein | May 11, 2018 |
remember the books you HAD to read in HS? This is the same kind of book ( )
  armysquirrel | Jan 1, 2018 |
I read over 250 pages before deciding that although this isn't a bad book, it's certainly not worth plowing through over 600 pages more. I just plain didn't care what happened to Linbaba. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Dec 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
"Get things moving with this sprawling epic about an ex-bankrobber making a new life for himself in the poverty-stricken slums of Bombay."
The book is full of vibrant characters.
"A sensational read, it might well reproduce its bestselling success in Australia here."
added by bookfitz | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 23, 2004)
"Roberts is a sure storyteller, capable of passages of precise beauty, and if his tale sometimes threatens to sprawl out of bounds and collapse under its own bookish, poetic weight, he draws its elements together at just the right moment."
added by bookfitz | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 1, 2004)
'Shantaram': Bombay or Bust

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory David Robertsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frydenlund, John ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guglielmina, PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazan, MaciejkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mingiardi, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palomas, AlejandroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt, SibylleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sjöström, Hans O.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother
First words
It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.
At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us. What we should fear and dread, of course, is that we won't stop loving them, even after they're dead and gone.
They'd lied to me and betrayed me, leaving jagged edges where all my trust had been, and I didn't like or respect or admire them any more, but still I loved them. I had no choice. I understood that, perfectly, standing in the white wilderness of snow. You can't kill love. You can't even kill it with hate. You can kill in-love, and loving, and even loveliness. You can kill them all, or numb them into dense, leaden regret, but you can't kill love itself. Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever. Every act of love, every moment of the heart reaching out, is a part of the universal good: it's a part of God, or what we call God, and it can never die.
And I'd learned, the hard way, that sometimes, even with the purest of intentions, we make things worse when we do our best to make things better. (p.81)
It was at once his most endearing and most irritating quality, that he always told me the whole of the truth.
But repression, they say, breeds resistance in some men, and I was resisting the world with every minute of my life.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312330537, Paperback)

Crime and punishment, passion and loyalty, betrayal and redemption are only a few of the ingredients in Shantaram, a massive, over-the-top, mostly autobiographical novel. Shantaram is the name given Mr. Lindsay, or Linbaba, the larger-than-life hero. It means "man of God's peace," which is what the Indian people know of Lin. What they do not know is that prior to his arrival in Bombay he escaped from an Australian prison where he had begun serving a 19-year sentence. He served two years and leaped over the wall. He was imprisoned for a string of armed robberies peformed to support his heroin addiction, which started when his marriage fell apart and he lost custody of his daughter. All of that is enough for several lifetimes, but for Greg Roberts, that's only the beginning.

He arrives in Bombay with little money, an assumed name, false papers, an untellable past, and no plans for the future. Fortunately, he meets Prabaker right away, a sweet, smiling man who is a street guide. He takes to Lin immediately, eventually introducing him to his home village, where they end up living for six months. When they return to Bombay, they take up residence in a sprawling illegal slum of 25,000 people and Linbaba becomes the resident "doctor." With a prison knowledge of first aid and whatever medicines he can cadge from doing trades with the local Mafia, he sets up a practice and is regarded as heaven-sent by these poor people who have nothing but illness, rat bites, dysentery, and anemia. He also meets Karla, an enigmatic Swiss-American woman, with whom he falls in love. Theirs is a complicated relationship, and Karla’s connections are murky from the outset.

Roberts is not reluctant to wax poetic; in fact, some of his prose is downright embarrassing. Throughought the novel, however, all 944 pages of it, every single sentence rings true. He is a tough guy with a tender heart, one capable of what is judged criminal behavior, but a basically decent, intelligent man who would never intentionally hurt anyone, especially anyone he knew. He is a magnet for trouble, a soldier of fortune, a picaresque hero: the rascal who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. His story is irresistible. Stay tuned for the prequel and the sequel. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:34 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The story of a man who escapes from a maximum security facility in Australia and arrives in Bombay, crossroads of the underworld, where he works in an aid station and smuggles drugs and guns.

» see all 13 descriptions

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