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Shantaram Paperback – 24 Mar 2005

889 customer reviews

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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 4.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (889 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory David Roberts retired from public life in 2014 to devote time to his family and new writing projects.

His new novel, The Mountain Shadow, will be released in 2015.

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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By dhbooks on 11 April 2005
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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216 of 239 people found the following review helpful By John Reader on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Snow on 16 July 2013
Format: Paperback
I did enjoy Shantaram, especially the first 3/4 of the book. The descriptions of the slums were superb, if often harrowing. The characters were vividly described as was the way the author related to them all. Some genuine funny moments, I enjoyed the cameo appearance of the bear.The book seemed to shine everytime Prabaker appeared (one of the most likeable characters) - he made me laugh on several occasions. The book benefitted from having a whole range of strong characters as opposed to just the odd one or two.

The author's description of his time in jail was pretty horrific, but never less than fascinating, in a gory sort of way.

However, I didn't think the book quite deserved 5 stars (which is what I thought I'd be awarding it when I was approximately half way through it.) I found the Afghanistan section a little hard going (much like the author I assume). I also agree with the witty criticism of one reviewer who gave it 1 star (a tad harsh!) - every time we got a description of Karla I though we were entering a 6th form English Literature class - with the over the top, flowery language. The book did seem a little long at 900 + pages - I didn't enjoy the last 200 or so nearly as much.

But overall a fine read and I'd highly recommend it despite one of two flaws.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Luis Suarez ate my hamster on 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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