Shantaram, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (16 ratings)


A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld.'In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum.

There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier.

He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail.

Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan . . . Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions.

It's a profound tribute to his willpower . . . At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision.' Time Out


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Showing 1 - 5 of 16 reviews.

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Review by

I couldn't put it down, but dreaded the end because there would be no more. One in a million.

Review by

Really intriguing story set in India. I read it while IN India last summer.

Review by

It is almost impossible to believe that this epic adventure story happened in real life. Roberts' attempt to make a new life for himself in India involves living in slums, becoming involved with the local mafia, encountering bears and fighting in the Afganishtani wars. This is a tale of love, philosophy and self-discovery that never loses it's fast pace and action-packed plot. Excellent, absorbing stuff.

Review by

Well written, with a lyrical use of language; honest and sincere, warts and all; <i>damn</i> exciting; insightful, opening my eyes to aspects of the human condition and the value of love; and beautiful. Parts of it are graphically violent, disturbingly so, but they were not pointless or gratuitous, so it kept me engrossed and is still highly recommended. It makes me want to visit India again.

Review by

A mixed bag. This book is a fast reading, engaging, dare I say - old fashion, and plot driven epic. The constant addition of the "If I knew then what I found out 1 year later..." only adds to the thrill. Once I started reading, it was hard to put down - a long day on the beach, and it was done. The book is highly autobiographical and you do learn a lot about the life of ne'er do wells who drift to Bombay. The early part of the book where he lives in a slum and visits a remote village are particularly enjoyable - the main character comes off quite sympathically. Later, after a stint in jail, he becomes a mobster and ends up fighting in Afganistan - these parts of the book are less intriguing, and the main character moves to the realm of being an annoyance whose motivations are difficult to comprehend.I am usually a character driven reader - this is a plot driven book. Hence I found a number of the characters (obviously including the main one) a combination of over romanticized, poorly developed, and unbelievable. A key part of the plot is a love interest - yet this character (and their so-called love) is so poorly constructed that you fail to understand the main characters motivations (there are a lot of the "enough already" type moments). The author seems so anxious to put some of the mobsters in a positive light that they become cartoons of great and complex men with small but fatal flaws.But alas, though not great literature (as some would have you believe) I read it, and I read it fast. Very few people who have a the kind of experiences of the author end up writing about - and in spite of all my complaints - he has a great story to tell.

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