I have to admit that I approached "Shantaram" a bit hesitantly; it was recommended by a friend whose reading prowess I trust, but the initial book description did't really make my inner reader salivate. I didn't really think I would like the story of a guy who escapes prison in Australia, only to land in India, haunting the slums, a leper's colony, the worst that Indian prisons can dish out, and life in the Indian mafia.
However, this is one of those occasions when I'm glad I followed someone else's recommendation because I LOVE THIS BOOK!
This is a book you will not want to read--or listen to--because doing so means the tale will soon be over. It is a book you do not want to end.
I love the epic feel of this book. Based on the real life adventures of the author, it blends murderous thuggery with deep compassion, and the bigger questions of life and the human condition with the ethics of evil.
Roberts's prose can lean toward the flowery at times, but I disn't even fault him, because behind each overwrought description, you hear the overwrought, passionate, and deeply sad heart of our hero, Lin. Aong with his Lin, Roberts populates this book with characters that are believable, and overflowing with personality and joy.
What is even better is that the narrator brings brilliant interpretations to each character. He must interpret the accents of Indians, Afghanies, Pakistanies, Australains, and Americans, and he does so with mastery. Each voice is unique and and memorable. Listening to this book is like watching an Academy Award winning film--it all just works.
Buy this book. Buy it today. Tell everyone about it. It's a great, rip-roaring read, posing big questions and leaving your heart full.
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