"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured."
So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum-security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.
Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.
As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, 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 search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.
Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas - this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.
©2003 Gregory David Roberts (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Shantaram is a novel of the first order, a work of extraordinary art, a thing of exceptional beauty. If someone asked me what the book was about, I would have to say everything, every thing in the world. Gregory David Roberts does for Bombay what Lawrence Durrell did for Alexandria, what Melville did for the South Seas, and what Thoreau did for Walden Pond: He makes it an eternal player in the literature of the world." (Pat Conroy)
"[A] sprawling, intelligent novel…full of vibrant characters…the exuberance of his prose is refreshing…Roberts brings us through Bombay's slums and opium houses, its prostitution dens and ex-pat bars, saying, You come now. And we follow." (The Washington Post)
"Few stand out quite like Shantaram …nothing if not entertaining. Sometimes a big story is its own best reward." (The New York Times)
One of my favorites. Well worth the 40+ hours.
This story had every aspect of a great story, written well. Love, Loss, Redemption, Crime, War, Exotic Locales, Philosophy, Colorful Characters.
No. But I would be happy to try another. He had a large cast of characters, with many accents, and they were all flatteringly done.
Carla. She was the focus of Lin's love but she had secrets that kept her at a distance. Lin's focus on her and efforts to know and try to keep her made her most memorable for me.
I am very happy to have stumbled across this book. This one was a real pleasure.
This book is a gem. By turns beautiful and bleak, this book takes you on a journey that you will never, ever forget. Through the slums of Mumbai to the rich palaces of the Indian mafia to the terror and hardship of war, there was hardly a minute that I wasn't riveted.
Humphrey Bower does an excellent job with the narration, expertly shifting accents and inflections so quickly that you almost immediately cease to hear anything but the characters.
Five very enthusiastic stars.
Please take the time to read, or better yet listen to Shantaram. Not only was the journey touching, insightful, beautiful and immersing, the performance contribution by Humphrey Bower cannot be overemphasized. I just finished a couple of minutes ago and am still in euphoric shock...so please forgive the brevity. This is a must, must experience story.
Membre since March 2008.
The story is worth making into two, 2 hour movies.
Then again, the performance of Humphey Bower is the best I've hear in all my years on Audible. I doubt a movie could surpass him.
I loved this book because not only was it an interesting story, but I learned a great deal about the Indian culture.
The time he spent in an Indian jail was scary and quite memorable. I hate insects so I definitely would not have survived or drank the water!
Prabhu was my favorite character - funny and endearing.
One of the best audiobooks ever!
This is the most engaging story that I have had the pleasure to listen to! I had previously read this book, but the narration by Humphrey Bower really makes it come to life. The experiences of the characters cleverly convey many life philosophies and this audiobook will remain in my library to listen to again at a future time.
Yes, only because I am on the road about 3 hrs per day.
I don't have other comparisons.
The first time he entered the slums.
Not sure I trust any of them.
Life Learner that has to occasionally sprinkle some fiction into my audio entertainment. Be educated, be worldly, and keep switching gears!
Yes, yes, yes!
It has everything... romance, suspense, philosophy, excitement. It is well written and excellently narrated.
Deepak Chopra meets Indiana Jones.
The conversation about doing the wrong thing for the right reasons and the conversation about God.
Wow. Gets you firing on all cylinders. Laugh or cry? How about laugh and cry!
Stop reading this and use that credit.
The narration on this story is incredible - the voices, the accents, and the inflections by the narrator really bring this heartwarming story to life. Though this book is pretty long, I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded and the way the author brought color to Lynn's emotions. There were definitely happy moments, sad moments, and really scary moments, and the author maintains a sense of mystery throughout the tale. One of the best audio books I've listened to ever! Definitely worth the listen!
I listen to books as I work. It's a beautiful life.
This is a long book. Because it takes so many hours to complete, there are certainly areas that go slower then others. But overall, this is a very interesting, fast paced look into the Indian culture. Humphrey Bower is absolutely amazing! He brings each character to life in a unique way. I would highly recommend this listen. It's easily in my top 5.
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