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Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram: A Novel (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Gregory David Roberts

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5,266190839 (4.17)1 / 282
Title:Shantaram: A Novel
Authors:Gregory David Roberts
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2005), Paperback, 944 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:India, contemporary, crime, sabbatical

Work details

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)

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English (173)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (189)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
This book came highly recommended to me by a friend of mine. It was a pretty good read read but rather long at almost 1000 pages. It painted a very clear picture of India - from the rural villages to bustling Bombay. The characters were intriguing and the plot had several twists and turns, so it was engaging. However, it was unnecessarily long - I think that this novel could have been edited a lot better. I wouldn't recommend this to someone who has a long list of books on their "to read" list because it'll take a good chunk of time to get through it - at least it did for me. ( )
  adin18 | Jun 8, 2017 |
This autobiographical novel was the best thing I've read in ages. Beautiful prose, wonderful setting (Bombay), vivid characters, often hilarious dialogue. All this along with a thoughtful and introspective writer who's lived a life that could easily be turned into an action movie. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
I actually cried(most of the times) while reading this book. Its got everything- romance, laughter, sorrow, sense of integrity, dirty politics, friendship and love!
Very well written- sometimes i did feel it dragged a bit, but then reading the author's experiences in the arthur road jail made me sensitive towards the plight of those kept as prisoners there! This book gives you as a reader several chances to think about all those classes- the poorer section of the society and the rich and the growing non-stop conflicts between the two!! It makes you to introspect where as a human we stand and how well, how meaningfully and seriously do we live our lives!!
This book deserves all stars for it is written sincerely and sensitively! A must read. ( )
  Sharayu_Gangurde | Jan 19, 2017 |
Interesting in parts, but could have done with a tighter edit, in my opinion. ( )
  essjay1 | Jan 11, 2017 |
As some other reviewers have already commented, this story is as much about a love for the city and the people of Bombay (now Mumbai) as it is about Lin, our Australian "on the lam" and the colourful individuals that come to comprise his inner circle of new friends. The story hits all the right notes from a semi-autobiographical perspective, but that is also part of the story's undoing. There is almost too much detail, and a little too much ego and self-importance our author attaches to Lin. I really enjoyed the sections of the story that delves into debates about philosophy, theology, literature, politics and a rather unique perspective of good versus evil in relation to the "Big Bang Theory" of evolution, but Lin as a character really started to grate on me. As for Karla... well... I finally just gave up on her as a character of any worth. Thank goodness the stories has characters like Prabaker, Didier and Vikram to drag us out of Lin's moralizing, remonstrating and self-victimizing (when he isn't pat himself on the back as the hero of Bombay, that is).

Overall, a good story with a solid 1980's perspective of Bombay and key events like the assassination of Indira Gandhi, but the story falters in that Roberts seemed to feel that all pieces of information were equally important, making for a story that could have been captured in a more condensed and precise manner. ( )
  lkernagh | Dec 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
The book is full of vibrant characters.
'Shantaram': Bombay or Bust
En gedigen lesefest. Dersom du syntes Papillon var bra, vil du elske «Shantaram», en røverhistorie som makter å gjøre de sjelelige prosesser hovedpersonen gjennomgår, til en integrert del av helheten.
Vanvittig røverhistorie. Rått, vakkert og røverromanaktig om livet og døden i Bombay.

» 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
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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