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Eric

Lake Oswego, OR, United States | Member Since 2008

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  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3196)
    Performance
    (1538)
    Story
    (1540)

    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. 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.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "Just Couldn't Get Through It"
    Overall

    I expected to like this book. I have been on a tear listening to "India" books (e.g., White Tiger, Shalimar the Clown, The Inheritance of Loss, and The Interpreter of Maladies (or some related title)). The book starts out strong - the narrator is brillant (except with female voices) and the author's characterizations of life in India were rich and interesting. At times, I felt that I was walking a street in Mumbai with him. Over time, however, several things began to grate on me. To begin with, the author characterizes everyone and everything he does as though he is one step removed from some transcendant experience - the people he meets are incredible, he is incredible, and the people he meets think he is incredible and he, in turn, thinks they are incredible. Over time, the next thing that stands out is how long winded he is - as opposed to a Hemingway-esque simplicity with few adjectives, this author describes everything in such microscopic detail that a five minute conversation he has requires 30 minutes to describe. I also hit this point where I no longer believed him. For example, through his incredible self-sacrafice setting up a clinic in the slum he becomes a "son" to a mafia Don type character and a "brother" to an assasin working for the Don. I wanted to believe it - I just didn't. Although I have hung in there to the bitter end with a lot of audible books - I finally gave up after 10 hours or so and said - "so what?" The book just didn't hold my interest. I grew tired of the author and the people he was trying so hard to make sound interesting. Although many people who listened to the abridged version wished they had listened to the unabridged version - I would say save yourself the trouble - the unabridged version is enough of this author who waxes eloquently about nothing.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful

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