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Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts
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Shantaram: A Novel (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Gregory David Roberts (Author)

Series: Shantaram (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,8172251,195 (4.14)1 / 315
This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay, a hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, actors and exiles. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher, and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.… (more)
Member:SandCastle807
Title:Shantaram: A Novel
Authors:Gregory David Roberts (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2004), Edition: First, 944 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work Information

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)

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 Name that Book: Long book about India6 unread / 6AnnFisher1, July 2011

» See also 315 mentions

English (202)  French (4)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (220)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
The protagonist embraces an aggressive masculinity. And the book is from his POV. So that is tiresome. The philosophy in dialogue is tiresome. Some of the descriptive sentences are atrociously, read-out-loud bad. The hero never faces the human cost of his crimes; any regrets he has centers on how he's failed his fellow criminals. I never understood why he loved the people he loved. I feel like I need a companion book to understand all of his psychological problems. Nevertheless -- the action scenes, the Bombay scenes, the slum scenes, are superbly written. My favorites include the attack of the wild dogs, the scene with the helicopter, the journey to the village, and the prison scenes. Pages and pages sometimes with no dialog that pull you in by the power of description. I've never read anything like it. Highly recommended just for the world it creates, despite the weakness in character. ( )
  read.to.live | Aug 4, 2022 |
It would have been a waste of time reading this tome, if not for the author's descriptions of Bombay bringing the city alive. I have not been to India but it is easy to visualize with his vivid descriptions. I also learn things about India like the Standing Baba and the underworld. Otherwise, there is quite a lot of drivel (it's a bit harsh but I know no better word). Roberts tries to be philosophical and reflective but it didn't turn out well (he even talked about physics of the universe). Perhaps it's the use of language. A lot of analogies were used, which had quite a flamboyant effect and failing to convey sincerity. I am sure this is not his intention since this is semi-autobiographical. ( )
  siok | May 2, 2022 |
Still in 2 minds about this book. It's an epic story of an Australian who has escaped from a vicious Aussie jail, and ended up in India. Over the next decades he lives in a slum, becomes a middle ranking mafia man, junkie and ends up fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan. Meanwhile he meets many colourful characters, who teach him many things, some he doesnt learn that quickly.

As a fictional story this is a bit farfetched but interesting. However there is the nagging thought that this is supposed to be a true-ish story (about the author's own life). Whilst he/the story tries to come off as "deep" ultimately he comes off as very shallow. He develops unquestioning friendships (bordering on adoration) with people who ultimately betray him. He discards those good people in his life with apparent ease in order to move himself onwards within the mafia world (only to be betrayed by the people he worships and losing the good people around him). ( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
I read nearly 3 books a week and am 30 years old. Shantaram is a book that I will always remember as the second book that I did not manage to complete (the first being Fifty Shades of Grey). I struggled with it for more than a week, reading 450 pages of the utter nonsense that the author has written. Though I initially enjoyed the beautiful prose, it quickly became repetitive. The author has portrayed himself or rather "Linbaba" as a "holier-than-thou do-gooder." There is no depth to his character. Even his crimes are described in such a way that one cannot, in good conscience, associate them with the character. The "flashes of insight" that Linbaba has into the psyche of the indian society are cliches and too moralistic. I tried hard to keep going, even resorting to skimming pages, but to no avail. There is simply no story, nothing to engage the reader. Roberts writes with the belief that people are terribly interested in knowing when he s**t, how he s**t, and why he s**t. He describes his perception of every incident, however minute, and seems to be imposing his views on the reader. here is no scope to imagine or feel anything. I feel so cheated after eating this drivel. I could have read something more worthwhile. For those of you who are interested, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo is a much better book. ( )
1 vote Chandna_Agarwal | Apr 8, 2022 |
I doubt I'll be tempted to re-read this. It's very long. It lacks something, maybe sophistication, or humility, or justice, or relatability. I did love it though. Roberts's character is like an Australian Indiana Jones with less class and compassion and more sex and violence.

I love the descriptions of Bombay, love how believable the story is as autobiography, I only strongly like the writing style, but love the language and different voices, love the adventure, love the little slivers of mysticism, and love the cultural representation. ( )
  ehershey | Mar 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory David Robertsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bower, HumphreyNarratorsecondary 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.
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)
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay, a hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, actors and exiles. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher, and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

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