"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)
When I first picked up this book, I only heard people saying that if the first page strikes a chord with the strings of you soul, there's no way you could put it down from there on. Well, it's only partially true, as it lured me into its bittersweet adventure and kept me excited the whole way throughout the book.
Although the last page, as well as the first, made a breathtaking impression, causing shivers up and down my spine, almost every other page is filled with phrases one would want to come back to and relive again. I believe I was even more lucky as I listened to the book. There's some kind of special magic about that Indian accent I liked so much mixed with a low, deep narration of the main character. My affection towards people and events presented grew stronger and stronger as the hours of chapters flew by. Even more so, I liked the philosophy, as well as the principles of love and justice expressed by the author; they somehow resemble to those I've always believed in and tried to live according to.
A special attention should be drawn to love, of course. Each page is filled with it, in this form or another, and you find yourself thinking that there's no any other way to truth, if not through love.
Much can, and should be said as I finished the book, with the storm of feelings accumulated throughout this charming story. As for me, it could not be better expressed, other than with the help of the following sentence: "One deserves to give himself or herself a gift of this fascinated journey that "Shantaram" kindly offers."
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.
The book has lots of ups and downs and elicited a wide range of emotional responses from me. I literally laughed and cried throughout the book. There were some unexpected twists and good suspense as well.
Painful deaths and rebirths of key characters.
Amazing pacing and accents for a multitude of characters. His interpretation of the words is unsurpassed. There may be as good out there, but it's hard to imagine better. For the most part his accents were consistent during a very long performance. Very few annoying accents among a cast of scores of characters.
I like the way the author weaves past and present. The writer usually always came back to tie up loose ends when I was beginning to wonder about some uncompleted story. There are so many good adventures and vignettes throughout the book It's long, but did not feel like it was dragging on.
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 loved the development of the characters and places. I could feel the dust and smell the places. It is one of the best written books I have ever read and I prayed for it to get longer rather than come to an end.Greg Roberts told his story with a full plate of life.
It is so unique that it is hard to make a comparasion, but if I had to choose one it would be Sea of Poppies by Amatav Gosh.
I have not but I will look for other books he is reading because he made every drop of water, piece of plastic on the huts of the slums blow in the breese, and I could feel Carla and Lisa. His accents for each character made me come to know them all personally.
So many. But Prabaker stands out the most other than Linbaba. He was actually alive in my mind. I can see his smile and hear his voice and I was devistated when he died in the taxi accident.
I hope Gregroy Roberts has more to say and that he can write really fast so I can imbed myself in his work again soon!!!
This book is one of a lifetime. The character development and the depth of understanding of people and their motivations is breathtaking. The extremely detailed descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of the many venues were compelling without seeming overdone. I feel as if I could identify each place in the book if I went there.
The experience of the deepest friendships he made and of the insights these friends brought him.
There were too many and I would not want to spoil the story for others by telling even some of them.
A gripping tale of adventure and redemption
Don't be put off by the length of the book as it flys by and you are totally absorbed in it.
Humphrey's voice captures the spirit of every character & their respective moods at the same time. The variety of ethnicities and genders were delivered so well, I could "see" them.
This is one of the rare books where I can honestly say you LOSE something by reading it rather than listening to it on audio. The narrator's accents, voice inflections and personality are awe-inspiring. This is a book about characters, and he was able to so uniquely capture each character's personality just by using his voice. He could instantaneously jump from an Australian accent, to an Indian accent, to a Jamaican accent and even a French accent. The reader is simply brilliant. He made every moment feel so real, like a movie playing in your head.
In my experience, there is no other book like this anywhere. It is one of a kind, just like it's author. It will consume your LIFE for several weeks, even months and you will LOVE. EVERY. MINUTE. :)
I have not, but no I feel I shouldn't listen to anything BUT.
The choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.
This book is extremely character driven and the narrator brings that to life superbly. It is also a deeply philosophical book about morality, crime, redemption and forgiveness. I was very lucky to have a copy of the book handy, because I was constantly searching through the pages so I could underline beautiful passages, profound thoughts and metaphors and philosophical gems. They seemed endless and always knocked my socks off. This book will stay with me for a very very long time.
A life changer
Lynn's relationship with Prabhu
He is amazing on all accents and specific character deflections! Prabhu was my favorite though!
Grateful for Love and for Loss
This book is a must listen too! The story is awesome and the narrator is one of the best, ever!!!!
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