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4.4 out of 5 stars
1,261
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 84 reviews(1 star). See all 1,261 reviews
on 15 August 2017
Really did not like this although my friend loved it and can't wait to read the follow up. For me the author comes across as having an ego bigger than the cosmos and from the actual background I read seems he's used a lot of whitewash in this book. Not terrible well written either.
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on 29 October 2016
What a dreadful book. It dragged on interminably, it was pretentious, I did not believe half of what he said about himself or what happened to him. I actually soldiered on and finished this book, but I totally wasted my time. It was recommended to me by a friend, so someone, including many reviewers on Amazon found it a good read, but God knows why.

Despite being a self confessed thief, a drug addict, a drug pusher and a man of violence, the author wants to portray himself as a creative writer, the hero of this book and protector of the oppressed. Give it a break mate.

G D Roberts' attempts at prose are frequent but his successes are rare indeed. I found the whole book to be totally pretentious; I could copy some of his ridiculous work, but I cant bear to open this book again. It will go straight into the bin.
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on 18 February 2017
This book has a meandering storyline and it is far, far too long. It is gratuitously violent, with the violence masquerading as something honourable and noble. There is the occasional bit of good prose which is more, or less, lost in turgid cliches, so do yourself a favour and read a decent book about India. Anything by William Dalrymple will knock this book into a cocked hat!.
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on 28 July 2017
Rubbish. Too long, too pretentious, rambling, unrealistic . Don't bother
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on 27 January 2010
Someone in my book group picked this for our recent choice. She was so enthusiastic about it that I thought, OK, it's not something I'd normally go for, but why not? There's no point telling you a synopsis of the story, as you will know that by now. But my view of the book? It was extremely badly written. It was sanctimonious and smug. And it was utter tripe. While it was easy to read (not necessarily the mark of a 'quality' book!), it was a chore to read as the character was so unlikeable. I loathed it. Avoid. Just because everyone else is reading it and it's moderately fashionable, doesn't mean it's good. This is not good.
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on 5 June 2015
Had high hopes for it due to the amazon reviews and a synopsis of the story that I had read somewhere - probably Wikipeadia. However, I was very disappointed. The review by Biggis (6/5/2015) entitled "A abysmal book: dull, tedious and unengaging, with poorly-written, self-indulgent prose" echoes my sentiments exactly. The only positive thing I can say is that I bought the kindle version so I have not contributed to the felling of a couple of trees that it must take to print the thousand odd pages that this books runs to.
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on 19 March 2014
This book had come recommended to me due to its almost cult following. Recommended by intelligent people whom had said to me that if I wanted to really immerse myself in a great book then this was it. How wrong they were. The book starts off promising enough with the protagonist landing in India with no great plan other than to survive. I was interested in elements of the story: the sensory descriptions of the bustling city, I found Prakaber endearing and amusing and was interested in village life as well as the tribulations of slum existence but that really is where the "story" begins and ends for me.

Because in all honesty this is not really a story, more a self-serving egotistical journey for Roberts who I am presuming locked his Editor in a cupboard so that he would have free reign in dumping a rather gargantuan, 950-word brain fart down on paper. The pop psychology, the feeble attempts at philosophy, the eagerness with which he paints the protagonist as a truly wonderful human being regardless of him being a violent ex addict and his woefully embarrassing love scenes with the utterly vile Karla all merge into a really protracted and painful book that really could have been cut down to about 250 pages. So that accounts for 700 pages of rubbish. Most of which are made up of Karla talking in riddles, akin to Joker in Batman. But with a German accent.

I adore reading, and was excited about the size of the book as there is nothing more exciting than sitting down with a thumping good read that will keep you company. This didn't so much keep me company as irritate the life out of me - I'd liken it instead to a persistent mosquito buzzing in my ear which simply won't go away. In the end you resort to killing it. Just like I did with this book. I reached in excess of 800 pages and figured life is too short so I simply pulled the plug and picked up a Steinbeck because I began to despair for humanity.

If you like reading and enjoy a good book, do not read Shantaram. It's time you'll never be able to recoup.
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on 6 October 2010
The late great Raymond Chandler (when stuck with the storyline)would write "a man with a gun appeared at the door..."

Parts of Shantaram i.e. the end of every other chapter ends with a cliffhanger; "a man with a..." though this is not in anyway comparable with Chandler. Storywise - dreadful potboiler tripe.

Though when Roberts writes about India & her people, he can provide a fascinating insight. The complexities of "slum" life in Mumbia how the shanty towns are organised & run, a shame the book does not focus more on this side.
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on 16 January 2016
completely missing any moral compass This book was recommended to me by a friend who's judgsment i trust. Cannot really explain enough how much i disliked the book.
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on 1 November 2010
Every page of this book is about how everyone loves the author: he is respected by all, is talented at everything, a great judge of character, all Indians respect him for his superior knowledge and experience and of course he is fantastic in bed.

If it was reduced in size by at least a half then perhaps I would have enjoyed it but unfortunately the tedium went on forever. He spends too long describing how characters look-so long in fact I switched off every time; one of the main characters has white hair and I did not realise until near the end, but it is mentioned when he first appears. Nothing is left to the reader's imagination rather every detail shovelled on in piles. Fight scenes are tedious because he describes the opponents every move in such a pedestrian manner you know the hero will survive. Towards the end of the book I realised that his friend from the beginning is the comic light relief to help you get you through the book.

The author is no Frederick Forsyth, Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens but thinks he is. If this were a film the main character would be laughed at uncontrollably for being unbelievable; so why because it is in print do so many people love it? Avoid this book and read something else.
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