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Shantaram Audiobook

Shantaram: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

"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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (4294 )
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4.8 (3978 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa 07-23-14
    Lisa 07-23-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Humphrey Bower is Fantastic!"
    Any additional comments?

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeannie Wilkinson Beverly Hills, CA, US 06-04-14
    Jeannie Wilkinson Beverly Hills, CA, US 06-04-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Mixed Feelings - Outstanding Narration"
    What did you like best about Shantaram? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed insight into the culture - especially that of the slums. I could have done without all the philosophy. Also, the author tries to dispense many "truisms" that sound clever and insightful, but under closer inspection, seem flimsy. I think a sprinkling of these would have been fine, but I was gritting my teeth half-way through.


    Would you recommend Shantaram to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, to the right person, but with several disclaimers.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I laughed out loud when the narrator takes a shower with Prabakar in the village for the first time.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Potentially


    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie Silver Spring, MD, United States 08-26-16
    Katie Silver Spring, MD, United States 08-26-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Epic, beautiful, and expertly read."

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 08-03-16
    Ryan 08-03-16 Member Since 2014
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    "One of the paramount experiences of my life"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blashy Québec, Canada 07-30-16
    Blashy Québec, Canada 07-30-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Great story, BEST vocal performance I've heard."

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharey 05-23-16
    Sharey 05-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Favorite"

    I own this book and read 60 percent, and listened to the last 40 percent. The narrator did a fantastic job having everyone sound exactly as I had been imagining.

    This is one of my all-time favorite books. It had my attention from start to finish. I highly recommend it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Goebel 11-22-14
    L. Goebel 11-22-14
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    "Great! I learned so much!"
    What made the experience of listening to Shantaram the most enjoyable?

    I loved this book because not only was it an interesting story, but I learned a great deal about the Indian culture.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shantaram?

    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!


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Prabhu was my favorite character - funny and endearing.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david 02-24-17
    david 02-24-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Huge book, never finished, got bored"
    What would have made Shantaram better?

    It is pretty decent, but its just so long. Plus i found out that a lot of it is embellished, maybe based on true events but just written in a way that makes it way more interesting than the actual story might have been.
    Knowing that Johnny Depp is a particular fan of the book, makes it feel a bit more douche-bagish.
    The book is written in a way that makes it sound like the whole story is a recollection of the guys life, but as it turns out it's either embellishments or just made up.
    If this was stated from the get-go, I think people would be able to enjoy it as the incredible story that it is. Instead people start to get into it, and then finding out this info.... they turn away from it.
    Being 43 hours long, it's not like you can just say 'well i'll stick it out for the remaining 40 mins, and be done with it'
    It's 1 of only 2 books i haven't finished.. and because of the reasons above...i doubt i actually well.
    So what would have made it better? An excerpt that simply stated 'this is not a recollection but a narrative based on events that i've witness, with some parts greatly embellished for the sake of good story writing' Just a bit of honesty for the reader.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    To be fair, if the author DID change it to reflect the actual truth, it probably wouldn't be interesting.
    So no, other than the excerpt, i wouldn't change anything.


    What aspect of Humphrey Bower’s performance would you have changed?

    Nothing, all the accent and ways of speaking were pretty good. His natural Australian voice give a relaxed air to the story, much like other Australian books i've listened too. You can also feel the temperature of the location just in the relaxed way he speaks, much like Australia in that regard.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Shantaram?

    To be fair, the guy is summing up a huge part of his life, each story that he tells relates in some way to another story he will tell later on.
    I believe it's already edited.
    Then again, i didn't finish the book, so maybe somewhere in the 2nd half could have been edited a bit.


    Any additional comments?

    If you know its an embellished narrative and know that going in, then you can appreciate it as the great story that it is. But if not you're in for a huge disappointment.
    Work at it in parts, 20 mins a day... this is a seriously long book, and it's not filled with enough cliff-hangers to make you keep listening chapter after chapter.
    He's retelling a giant chapter of his life.. everything that he writes is important to the narrative in someway, but that doesn't make all of it interesting... some of it may just give context for other things later on.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis Austin 12-28-16
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    "I didn't want it to end."

    The Performance was so amazing that I don't know how much that made me like the book as much as I did. it is a long book but there is enough story to fill it. One if the books that I was I could experience again for the first time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CoolockSimba 12-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Beautiful"

    Written well and read well. Truly engaging. A literary work and full of lessons in humanity.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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