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Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts
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Shantaram: A Novel (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Gregory David Roberts

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,422None1,106 (4.19)1 / 212
Member:chapeauchin
Title:Shantaram: A Novel
Authors:Gregory David Roberts
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2005), Paperback, 944 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:India, contemporary, crime, sabbatical

Work details

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)

adventure (45) Afghanistan (16) Australia (52) Australian (23) autobiographical (13) autobiography (52) biography (38) Bombay (98) crime (54) drugs (13) fiction (368) India (352) Indien (22) literature (14) mafia (18) memoir (39) Mumbai (36) non-fiction (23) novel (51) organized crime (13) own (17) philosophy (14) prison (24) read (28) Roman (17) slums (24) to-read (91) travel (20) unread (17) wishlist (12)
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English (139)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
Wonderful read....
http://rajveerspace.blogspot.in/ ( )
  rajveerspace | Mar 25, 2014 |
A long easy read.
Enjoyed reading the book.

A good adventure that keeps your mind on the book for a good long period.
Everything in the protagonist's mind is vividly described - making some parts dragging and boring.

Leaves you with lots of unanswered questions. There were some parts which were a bit slow. Hence a star less.

Now full of questions how Johnny Depp would portray this character. Would love to see that.


Loved the character of Prabhaker.

Revenge plot was weak. Was somewhat obvious about Madame Zhou's hand in the arrest.
Many things were predictable.

Another good follow-up read I enjoyed is this grade saver study
( )
  maheswaranm | Mar 20, 2014 |
One of my all time favorite books that has it all: love, travel, danger, and suspense. ( )
  JK135 | Feb 24, 2014 |
I've read this one when I bought it nearly 7 years ago. I gave it 5 stars at the other site I was using at the time, but never entered a review.
So... will re-read and get back to you later. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Feb 2, 2014 |
My wife bought this book and read it a long time ago. I’ve been meaning to read it but I guess the fact that it is almost 1,000 pages long contributed to it getting neglected on the shelf. But a few weeks ago a friend from work sent out an email recommending it, and as I take friends’ recommendations seriously (they almost always turn out to be spot on) I decided it’s time to read “Shantaram”.

This book is an autobiography of sorts. Gregory David Roberts is a convicted armed robber who escaped from prison in Australia and landed in Bombay (today Mumbai) with a fake New Zealand passport in the name of Lindsay (Lin) Ford. In this book, Mr. Roberts weaves a tumultuous tale based (loosely? closely?) on his experiences in India and, later, in Afghanistan.

As soon as he lands in India, Lin meets Prabaker (Prabu), a man who offers his services as a guide. Lin is charmed by Prabu’s smile and hires him, thus beginning a long friendship that, sadly, ends in tragic circumstances. Lin travels with his new friend to Sunder, his home village, where he learns to speak Mahrati and is given a Maharashtrian name – Shantaram, meaning “man of God’s peace”. After Lin and Prabu are robbed, they end up living in a huge Bombay slum, where Lin runs the local “clinic”, administering first aid using illegal medicine procured from the city’s leper colony.

There is also the local “expat” community – French, Italians, Germans, Nigerians – most of whom escaped a former life and are etching out a living in Bombay, mostly via illegal means. Lin falls in love with Swiss Karla and becomes friends with local gangsters and Bollywood producers. Slowly but surely he is drawn into a mafia operation run by an Afghan don, Khader Khan, who becomes a father figure to Lin. After a vicious spate at the local jail, Lin is “rescued” by Khan and becomes devoted to his organization and cause. This is how he ends up going to Afghanistan and joining arms with the rebels fighting the Russian invaders.

The story is interesting enough, but perhaps more interesting are the little anecdotes about life in India. Mr. Roberts is a keen watcher of people, and he manages to pack countless descriptions of daily activities. One of the most fascinating parts of the book is the story of his train journey to Prabu’s home village. When boarding the train, Prabu risks his life to secure a seat for his foreigner friend, by hiring a burly guy to escort Lin through the crowds and himself lying down on the seat to “reserve” it, despite being beaten repeatedly by angry passengers around him. But as soon as the train departs and fighting for seats is no longer a necessity, the passengers become friendly and courteous. Some of these passages in the book make you laugh out loud. Others make you sad.

Despite its length, this is an easy book to read. The tale is fascinating and the prose is engaging. It almost makes you forget that Mr. Roberts is a fugitive who engages in illegal activities that cause harm to many people. A classic antihero figure. ( )
  ashergabbay | Jan 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (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.
 
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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.
Quotations
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)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:40 -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)

» see all 5 descriptions

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