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Shantaram [Paperback]

Gregory David Roberts
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (687 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
Price: £7.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

24 Mar 2005

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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Product details

  • Paperback: 944 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (24 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349117543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349117546
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (687 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory David Roberts was born in Melbourne in 1952. After surviving the events dealt with in Shantaram, he was captured in Germany in 1990 and eventually extradited to Australia. On completing his prison sentence, he established a small multi-media company and is now a full-time writer. He lives in Melbourne.

Product Description

Review

A literary masterpiece ... at once erudite and intimate, reflective and funny ... it has the grit and pace of a thriller (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Powerful and original ... a remarkable achievement (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Extraordinarily vivid ... a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga (DAILY MAIL)

A publishing phenomenon (SUNDAY TIMES)

Book Description

* A publishing sensation: a stunning novel based on the author's dramatic and extraordinary true story of life on the run in the Bombay underworld

* 'A literary masterpiece ... it has the grit and pace of a thriller' DAILY TELEGRAPH


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read 8 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback
This novel is both a combination of travel writing, crime thriller and one which questions your own beliefs as to the nature of of peoples crime and punishment for those who accept their wrongs. The prose if poetic although a bit flowery at times, I despaired the amount of times the author over described someones eyes and the flecks of various colours within. The main character is also a bit difficult to relate to at times. He's not likeable enough to dismiss his failings as acceptable nor is he flawed enough to be treated in the anti-hero mold. It is certainly better than average (3) but with enough gripes for me to consider it a masterpiece. I had two main issues. The first is as the way Lin is written. You initially think from the back cover that the story is autobiographical and this increases your interest. But as the story develops you feel that certain aspects are exaggerated and distorted. There is nothing wrong with poetic license but ultimately when it crosses into fabrication and you have been told otherwise I felt a little cheated and question what, if any of the story actually happened. My second gripe is the actual plot. The first half is gripping as we read Lin's story ad I was with him all the way but then about half way through there begins a sub-plot of an underground terrorist/revolutionary type that comes out of nowhere and bubbles under the surface for the rest of the book. Ultimately the reveal is disappointing. The final climax of the story as Lin travels on his greatest and most dangerous adventure since arriving in India also becomes apparent as probably not the actual truth and is a step too far plot wise for the wonderful, thought provoking character we meet at the beginning. With all that said, a good book will always have bits that not everyone likes and understandably those parts are more closely scrutinised and critiqued than perhaps those of a lesser book. It's worth a read without a doubt.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immersive and evocative read 11 April 2005
By dhbooks
Format:Paperback
Based on a true story, the tale of a wanted Australian ex-convict who moves to Bombay; sets up a medical clinic in the slums; joins the Indian mafia and even goes to war in Afghanistan is gripping stuff. Those looking for a thriller or fast-paced ride will be disappointed - whilst Roberts includes plenty of action, he also vividly describes not only his surroundings but also his personal interactions with the residents and foreign nationals in Bombay. It is in this way that Shantaram excels, as a tale of how Roberts fits into the hugely varied Bombay lifestyle. In one way, Shantaram is almost a love story, with many of Roberts' actions revolving around a woman he loves - however, his propensity for getting into various dangerous situations meant that I couldn't put the book down. Whilst it is quite long, almost 1,000 pages of small type, it will keep you entertained and fascinated throughout, with Roberts' descriptions of India totally immersing you in his experiences.
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204 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confused? 3 April 2007
Format:Paperback
Hmmm...I've read with interest the reviews of this book and I think that you'll agree they are somewhat polarised!

My reading tastes are quite varied, from the Classics to Alex Garland and although I will try to be as objective as possible, the fact is that I really enjoyed this book.

Firstly, I am motivated to write a review for this book because I am at a loss as to how anyone could so vehemently be opposed to it without having an axe to grind with the author, (as opposed to reviewing the actual story), but predominantly because, like other reviewers here, I absolutely loved it and naturally want to share my enthusiasm and recommend it to others.

For me, Shantaram is a truly engaging read. It is exceptionally well paced and will take you on a journey that will, at times, leave you breathless and unable to turn the pages quickly enough. The authors' consummate depiction of character, place and drama will absorb you entirely in a relentless mêlée between the most noble and absolute base capabilities of human nature. Love, loathing, beauty, repugnance, tenderness and brutality - it's all here, in spades. However, there are two sections of this book which will enable you to catch up and assimilate, placed roughly at intervals between the first and second third of the narrative, and again between the second and third section. Believe me, you'll need these opportunities to relax a little.

The story of Lin, his travels, trials, dilemma and relationships with the individuals within the book are both enthralling and captivating in extremis. I would make claim that it is easily placed in my top five `you must read this' books.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I'm surprised that there aren't more middle of the road reviews here. Essentially, it's fantastic in parts, and makes you cringe with embarrassment or curse the author in others. The problems for me really are the ridiculous prose, the pretentious and meaningless philosophies of the author and his initial crew of friends (who are all right winkers), and his obsession with bigging himself up all the time (even when he's trying to admit a failing, he does so by boasting about something else). The plus points are the scope of the story, and the fact that somehow it keeps you coming back for more despite all its flaws.

The story can be gripping at times, though the strings of coincidences may go a little too far for some. There are some likeable characters, mostly locals rather than his idiotic expat friends. Prabaker in particular keeps things moving along with a chuckle, especially in the early stages. He does however have a slight Orientalist style of overly-romanticising and valorising everything local, which is fairly patronising at times. He also seems to be writing with the benefit of hindsight yet claiming at times that he or his friends foresaw events - the more recent rise of Shiv Sena for example.

The whole thing moves at an irregular pace, with, for example, a whole chapter on one fairly dull night in a bar, followed by another swiftly galloping through fires, a career as a doctor an encounter with a sword-wielding mentalist etc. There is always something just around the corner though, which keeps you going through the dull or outright infuriating bits.

The `David Brent' figure suggested by someone else here really is a fairly apt comparison.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend you read this book
The book was recommended by a friend. Soon, the whole office started reading it. It's a good read but in some areas, I find a little dry where I feel the writer was going on a bit. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Yassymean
1.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy your life? Don't buy this terrible book as it will ruin your...
I have never written and will probably never write a book review online again, but i feel as if i have to warn people of this horrendous book - simply terrible! Read more
Published 2 days ago by Mr D W LUGG
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great read Is it based on a true life story
This is a great read
Is it based on a true life story? Who cares?
Very entertaining
Published 3 days ago by Long haul traveller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Graet Book !
Published 3 days ago by Tracy Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars The core of life
This is an amazing book that captures simple truths about the Intense heart of life .
That love and happiness abound in the simplest of ways just waiting to be found.
Published 4 days ago by Super Bibi
1.0 out of 5 stars unadulterated claptrap, dated, whining, self indulgent and wildly...
Catastrophically poorly written, ridiculously long, appallingly histrionic, I hated every word. Zero stars. But it doesn't allow that. Don't bother, it's dire, vulgar, twisted. Read more
Published 4 days ago by EmmaEdinburgh
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of all time
I've read this book twice, and bought it for over a dozen different people now. I can't recommend this book enough. Read more
Published 5 days ago by PingChan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Loved the book
Published 5 days ago by Buyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Okay so far
Great story line but too long. Rang out of steam reading it so didn't finish.
Published 9 days ago by Wicked Thumbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book
I am currently listen to this on audiobooks. It is absolutely inspired. It really shows you the underbelly of India and a man's struggle to define the corruption and culture of... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Durham_Red
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