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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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4,5151601,073 (4.19)1 / 215
Title:Shantaram: A Novel
Authors:Gregory David Roberts
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2005), Edition: 1, Paperback, 944 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)

Recently added byMBykowski, booksniff, AKmary, princess_Div, etbm2003, sorinbiriescu, private library, jdavis66
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English (143)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All languages (157)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
First half is kinda OK. ( )
  BruceCrawford | Aug 15, 2014 |
This book suffered from lack of editing. It had potential to be an important book about transformational experience in India, the land of transformation, suffering, renewal. However, it ends up being a blah, blah, blah and more blah blah blah. I had to stop reading. One episode after the other of the same thing. Blah, blah, blah. Of course at a certain pony the narrator got on my nerves since he was not moving the story forward but keeping it stuck in the mud of his own voice,not lifting it into a work of art when all the pieces were there to do so. Sad outcome for great material. ( )
  authorknows | Aug 10, 2014 |
Random Thoughts

I can't lie if I had to read this I might have been frustrated with but listening to it was a truly memorable experience - Thanks Jen for recommending this one
Truly one of the most beautifully lyrical and poetic tales that reads like an autobiograpy (and from my understanding of the author it is based on his life story) His use of language is gorgeous
Humphrey Bower has a remarkeble talent for voice work
I trust you not to fall in love with Prabakar
Broke my hear I was actually bawling at one point while listening (just before I had to pick up my son from Kindergarden)
I just didn't buy his obsession with Karla, found her to be meh (and if I had to listen to him talk about her eyes one more time I was going to scream)
Utterly mesmorizing and you lose yourself in Lin's world
Its like 5 stories in one
Each and every character is fully developed and flawed and so very human
Wonderful insights into various cultures - and made me think of my own inner preconceived notions about these various cultures
For the first time in my life I have a desire to see that part of the world - the author truly brought it to life
Shows the beauty andzest for life of those who live in poverty
Such universal truths throughout the story
No spoilers but all I can say is Prabakar!!!!
Perfectly said about the treatments of the soldiers worldwide
The treatment of prisoners was appalling - just to break someones spirit
Ewww the insects
Learned a lot of history
Makes you think about the nature of life, good vs evil, too much power in too few hands (a quote as well), crime and punishment, god and so much more
Story still stays with me many weeks after listening to
On many occasions I had this same idea in my head while listening "The separation that they found so easy and instinctual-this is my criminal life, over here, and that's my religious life, over there-was impossible for me" I had a hard time understanding that those who live a life of crime can be so religious is an alien thing to me, yet I found myself understanding and loving these characters - very weird
Excellent book for a book club (a serious one though)

Memorable Passages (Sorry couldn't choose only 3 this time)

“It's forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would've annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.”

“That's how we keep this crazy place together - with the heart. Two hundred fuckin' languages, and a billion people. India is the heart. It's the heart that keeps us together. There's no place with people like my people, Lin. There's no heart like the Indian heart.”

"I told him that on the journey you had loose motions, and you made such a mess in your over-underpants that we had to throw them away.' 'You told him,' I asked, 'that I shit my pants?' 'Oh, yes, Lin. I certainly couldn't tell him that you have no over-underpants!' 'Well, of course not.”

"Nothing ever fits the palm so perfectly, or feels so right, or inspires so much protective instinct as the hand of a child"

"Every life, every love, every action and feeling and thought has its reason and significance: its beginning, and the part it plays in the end. Sometimes, we do see..Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny, precious wisdom they give to us, even those dread and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.

I went to war. .... I survived, while other men around me died. ... men whose lives were crunched up in mistakes, and thrown away by the wrong second of someone else's hate, or love, or indifference.

4.5/5 Dewey's

I purchased this from Audible and well lets face it, everything I read or listen to, I share with you ( )
  mountie9 | May 2, 2014 |
If you want a good description of India and Indian society, and Mumbai in particular, this book is for you. Gregory David Roberts saw it, lived it, and put it all down eloquently. I thought there were scenes in this book that could not possibly have happened in India in real life. I thought the author embellished or exaggerated--used poetic license. But time and time again, I was proved wrong by what I saw while in India, by accounts of similar events described in the Indian newspapers, and in discussions with Indian friends. He says this is all fiction. But I've come to believe that fiction reveals the truth. It's the text books that contain half-truths, biases, and sugar coating. ( )
  vdunn | Apr 30, 2014 |
A great work, as original as the life of its author. Unfortunately, the book's major flaw is the author's personality, that comes across as ridiculously full of himself. This being theoretically an autobiographic story, in places it almost felt to me like I was listening to this teenager sitting at a bar, telling me the story of his life --- or at least, the story he likes to tell himself --- and feeding me a bunch of "stretched truths", all aimed at making him look like the toughest man, but also the kindest and most sensitive one, who ever existed on Earth. Even the book's incipt, as powerful as it is, sets the tone by posing as "what I really am here to do is brag about having being tortured and about what a tough life I have been able to endure, so get set". In the story, Lin walks around as The Tough Man, make no mistake. When he meets the hotel receptionist at the beginning, they exchange a glance "which makes them both understand how cool and tough they both are", or something atrocious like that.

Having said all that, however, I found that despite rolling my eyes more than a few times, I really did enjoy listening to this arrogant teenager's story, true or false I don't care much. A good story is a good story. At this hypothetical bar with him I would be like: "go on, buddy, I'll buy you another one, just keep going, please". There is a feeling of genuinity to the whole narration.

Also, I was shocked to read that the first version of the book was destroyed by the prison guards where Benford was being detained, and he actually had to re-write it from scratch. ( )
1 vote tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (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.
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)

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