"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)
honestly the best listen ever in my 33 years of life
can't compare the best
simply the best man
My Favorite Audiobook to date. Amazing, literate, moving and disturbing. All of humanity in one story. The Narator was perfect and really nailed the accents, emotions, and intensity. I missed several exits while driving and listening, but didn't mind the delay to listen a little longer. An Epic journey, but without a moral to the story. Truly An Experience.
Only the Lord of the Rings (read 40 years ago) comes close, but that had a heros journey. Shantaram is life. There is no "reason" why some things happen in the world. We try to make sense, but they just dont. Good sometimes creates bad and some bad creates good. The end just stopped, leaving a lot of questions. But, the 40+ hours flew bye!
I bought both the kindle book and the audio version, since I often like to switch back and forth between them. The reader's performance was so good, however, that I never even considered opening the book.
The book totally changed my view of India. I still don't believe the slums are nice places, but this book gives some insight into how people can tolerate living there. It is also a very interesting tale of the main character's journey and growth as a man and a human being.
This book contains a multitude of characters from various nationalities, and Bower enacts each and every one of them to great perfection - he easily amplified my enjoyment of the book tenfold. I have heard some who've read the paper version say they got the characters confused, but Bower's performance made that much easier to follow (although I occasionally ran into trouble with than when they entered the Afghan mountains).
I cried several times, and laughed out even more. Just beautiful!
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!
Really loved this book it's truly a modern classic. The narration is really excellent with amazing voices that add so much to the book. Only quibble is the women's voices are a bit strange at times, but totally a non issue in the end. I actually got a copy of this audiobook awhile ago from a friend which is the one I listened to, but wanted to support the author so I got it here too, plus I bought the actual book! Really good narrator!
I did not read the print version.
His performance brought me right into India. I loved the voices and accents he gave the characters.
This book touched on every emotion I have in me. I laughed & danced & sang & cried & felt weak with a heavy heart.
Variety is the spice of life and so is this book. Such a variety of people, characters, cultures, customs, emotions & so forth. I learned so much about relationships & about my own feelings. There are many lessons in this book. I hated for it to end though. I want the next book to see where it goes from there......
Needed a good editor. Lots of it was overwritten, a reflection of the author's overinflated ego.
Too much gore and violence. The author loves telling about the bloody details of various knife, gun, or fist fights. At first it's fascinating, but by the end of the book, it is revolting.
No. But I would after listening to this one. He is able to depict an incredibly wide variety of characters and accents. An absolutely superlative performance.
Probably not. Too much violence.
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