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Publisher's Summary

A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld.

In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan...

Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It's a profound tribute to his willpower...

©2003 Gregory David Roberts (P)2006 Black Stone Audio Inc

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary vivid...a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga." (Daily Mail)
"Powerful and original...a remarkable achievement." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Vivid and compassionate...impressive." (Guardian)
"A publishing phenomenon." (Sunday Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Best book I've ever read

The metaphors are briliant. the narator is perfect for the role and this book came alive in not just my mind but also my heart.

Recommended for all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A true masterpiece

What did you love best about Shantaram?

This book surely has one of the best performances by it's narrator of any audio book, the characters were brought to life beautifully and visually, quite stunning. <br/>The story is magnificent but like any true work of brilliance it would not be possible to do it justice with a mere description.

What other book might you compare Shantaram to and why?

I honestly can't think of one, I consider myself quite well read and this book is right up there with the best of them

Which scene was your favorite?

There are several moments which show true insight, the entire book is a pleasure to read

Who was the most memorable character of Shantaram and why?

So many fantastic characters, Prabaka must be one of the most memorable ~ I can see his smile ;)

Any additional comments?

Don't hesitate, this is one of the truly great audio books and I've read many of them. The performance alone is worth a listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent overall

Loved every aspect of this book. The narrator was very consistent in his voices. The story was good, long but not boring or tedious. Just generally a good listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The sights and smells of India

A truly stunning book about India, especially Mumbai or as most locals still call the city, Bombay! It paint a great picture of day to day life, albeit the darker side. Having spent a decent amount of time in Bombay and India, I can say hand on heart that it's a brilliant read and always take me back to the glorious sights and smells of India. Well worth the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story from beginning to end

I have read the book and listened twice. This is my favorite!
Great narrator! I want more of the same

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What a book, what a performance!

What a great book! I've never read a book so interesting. The story is extremely exciting and you really learn to love the characters. I love it!

If you pass this book by, you'll really miss out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing Book ! Amazing Listening Experience !

Where does Shantaram rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is my first book and what a great way to start my listening experience. Humphrey Bower makes the listening experience awesome, I just loved his voice and narration.

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

Lin Baba in particular but all of them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The read thing

Many years ago i too lived in india. Shantaram took me back there. His description of the people is as true as it gets. This is speaking as a goora ( white man).

One on the best books I have read and Been recommending it to every one i know.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent, a masterpiece

A fantastic story, narrated beautifully. The various accents created such authenticity. I loved every minute and enjoyed many a chuckle.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Top 10

Loved this book, it was a constant excitement ! The narrator was great and meshed perfectly to the book.
Top notch

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bernice
  • 11-24-16

AN ABSOLUTELY, MAGNIFICENT , MASTERPIECE!!

Words fail to describe how good this book is!! It is 43 hours long and I loved every minute. I can honestly say that there was not a moment that I was not gripped with this epic drama.

The story is set in India and is about an Australian fugitive and the friendships he makes with people in the slums, the local mafia and other foreign nationals. This book is based on
the life of the author who did all those things. It is unclear how much is fact and how much is fiction. However, I am sure that the author's experience contributes to the life-like characters and the feeling that you are in the heart of India as the story unfolds.

The book is a literary work of genius. Wonderfully written. There were so many thought-provoking moments.

The narration is brilliant and the narrator slips easily into the Hindi and Marathi. It is true that he does not express the voices of women as well, but this did not disrupt my enjoyment of this book. I believe this book took 13 years to write and you will be able to see why.

I loved it! Loved it ! Loved it!

This is a wonderful book, a masterpiece that is made up the stories of so many different characters that are all closely woven together, in a beautiful, colourful, warm, blanket. I can see why this book is an international bestseller.

This book is highly recommended! Do not be put off by the size of it, you will not be disappointed.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • PBM
  • 06-04-16

An incredible piece of art (written & narrated)

I had read Shantaram in 2009 whilst travelling through India and loved the story so much that I recomended this book to all my friends and family. I wanted to read the book again but decided to listen to the audio version instead. I was concerned that i might not enjoy the experience as much and probably end up dissapointed as when you see a bad film version of a book you have loved and enjoyed so much. To my delight i was hooked right from the start. What an incredible performance by the narrator Humphrey Bower! It has been an amazing experience. Thank you for putting your heart and soul in this beautifully written book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • PPB
  • 10-31-16

Must read..

I was basically hooked into this book.. Can't believe I waited so long.. must read..learnt so many things that I did not know about India..

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • HappyLuckyAlix
  • 09-03-14

Enjoy the Ride!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

To a friend used to the kinds of beautifully-crafted prose that might be expected in a typical work of literary fiction, and for whom the quality of the writing itself is important I would suggest they think twice before starting this book. As other reviewers have said, it contains a good deal of pompous, purple, cliche-ridden and dubious writing and is the worse for it. However to a friend who loves an adventure novel, a travel book and a ripping yarn, I would heartily recommend. The cast of characters is cliched, many of them horribly stereotyped, thin and poorly drawn, the first-person narrator comes across as a narcissistic twit and I'm astonished these problems with the book were not better addressed at editing stage. By contrast the characters of Bombay, of Pakistan and Afghanistan, of the bars and chai shops and streets and slums are deliciously, sensuously described and are the real stars of this huge great show of a novel. What Gregory David Roberts lacks in creating believable, sympathetic characters he more than makes up for in writing a romping good story, full of exquisite descriptive detail, brilliant highs and desperate, heart rending lows. Humphrey Bower's handling of the many voices, accents and dialects in this novel, and the range of feeling he communicates is a joy to listen to. I was close to giving up on the book after the first few chapters because the writing was annoying me so much. How grateful I am to have persevered; to have stopped judging the book by its faults, and to simply enjoy it for the rollicking good ride that it is.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I hadn't come across Humphrey Bower before but will now be seeking out more of his work: the reading was first-class.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • ANDREW
  • 07-14-14

Excellent reading of a great story

What made the experience of listening to Shantaram the most enjoyable?

I'd read the book before and really enjoyed it. I saw it was available on Audible and thought that, if well done, it would be a fantastic audiobook to get completely immersed in. I wasn't disappointed. The book is not without its flaws, but it's a compelling and epic story that I find myself totally hooked by.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hard to pick a favourite as there are so many compelling characters. I think the audio version of the book really brought out some of the more minor characters, for example Didier.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

I was impressed by his ability to voice all the characters. There are so many and I thought he did a really good job giving each an individual voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

So many - and impossible to say without giving major spoilers!

Any additional comments?

A great book, turned into a brilliant audiobook.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • P.W.Ainsworth
  • 10-21-16

Shantaram

Loved use of language especially when describing the smallest of facial expressions. The crowd scenes and activities of India come alive. Interesting historical references. This book is brought alive by the performance which is beyond words. The narration was outstanding

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-15-17

FANTASTIC

This is quite possibly the best book I have ever read or listened to.
The story is deep, funny, and interesting all at the same time. Yet showing a serious and violent background.
In all a truly fantastic piece of work.
BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Zoe
  • 09-18-16

Most excellent

The book was recommended but the audiobook is more convenient while I garden
First time I have ever submitted a review so good was the experience!
I have fallen in and out of love with India along the way
The recommendation to try the audio book has been passed back
This is one of the best from an audible veteran

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Vicky
  • 09-02-16

Charming, funny, beautifully narrated

What did you like most about Shantaram?

This audiobook remains the unbeatable title in my Audible library, and I've now bored countless numbers of friends and family with my enthusiasm for Humphrey Bower's narration of it. The story had me gripped right to the end (so much so that I arrived late to a social gathering in it's final hour, because I couldn't face going out before it had concluded). Don't be perturbed by the length of the audio - once you're inside the world of Shantaram you'll find yourself wishing it was longer! <br/><br/>This book is warm, funny and wonderfully textured. Some parts of the tale may be deemed far-fetched if we're asked to believe that this is strictly an autobiography. However, in truth it doesn't matter, because the characters are so well portrayed that they provide a credible grounding and rich entertainment along the way.

What did you like best about this story?

Prabu - Humprey's narration is superb. Like sunshine in your ears!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Difficult to say, because the story is so long and twists between many diverse and extreme landscapes.

Any additional comments?

This should be on the list of titles to read or hear before you die.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Roberts
  • 12-01-15

A very rich and compelling read

Where does Shantaram rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a long book but is well balanced between the parts. If you like descriptive stories which are honest and to a greater or lesser extent true then this is a very good choice. <br/>

What did you like best about this story?

This is a book told through the individual stories of the intertwining characters. The characters are very vivid and develop well as the story progresses, It is one of the few stories I have read where the story is there but the whole of the story and all of the levels are not fully explained until the final part. The way the story unravels and develops is truly intriguing.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to any other performances but on the strength of this one I would definitely consider listening to more.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are several key moments in this book. I will not give any plot points or spoilers but there are three or four moments that clearly stand out when I think about this book.

Any additional comments?

I won't lie and say this is an easy listen in parts but it is well worth the effort.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Julia
  • 08-02-14

Great Book

I think this was one of the best books I have ever read and the narrater was excellient and the book made me laugh and it made me cry and I was sorry when it was finished

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • christine
  • 12-31-14

What a tale of courage and adventure!

India is one of my favourite countries and I loved this book from the very first chapter where he described the sights, sounds and smells of Bombay - I felt I was there. I am not quite at the end of the book - hate getting to the end of a fascinating story, so am slowly savouring the last few chapters. Wonderful book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • tarah doyle
  • 09-11-15

brilliant!

I absolutely loved this amazing story and I'm totally looking forward to the sequel. The difference voice for the different characters really made it an enjoyable listening experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • 06-01-15

Loved every minute!

Great tale, loved the characters.
Narration really was the icing on the cake - what an amazing job Humphrey bowers did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Emma Deighan
  • 05-26-15

A MUST for any audiobook library.

Not only is the story captivating and addictive, but the performance is the best I have listened to. I genuinely feel that I've gained more listening to this book than I would have had reading it myself. Hearing the characters and their accents come to life genuinely enriched the experience that is Shantaram.

Simply put, as much as I'd say the story is a MUST read the Shantaram audiobook read by Humphrey Bower is a MUST listen!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • 01-11-15

Best book I've read in many years

This was a fantastic book, and Humphrey Baweris probably one of the worlds best niraters of Audiobooks. I was a bit dubious coming into it, but I do like travel books, Gregory Roberts intertwines his story contextplace and spirit very well my only minor criticism is that sometimes he tried to use to flowery language to describe something that was basic or that didn't need flowery language in its beauty because of the way it is it the same that's a very minor point

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Deb
  • 10-25-14

By Far the Best of it's kind

Shantaram was a book I had planned to listen to a long time ago. I finally got to listen and it was superb. I enjoyed everything about it. The Narrator Humphrey Bower is my favourite and anything narrated by him is on my list. The Characters took on a life of their own and the detail of each and every personality I could not fault. A book by this author again? Yes most definitely! Read by Humphrey Bower, Absolutely! NO discussion entered into.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Melinda
  • 04-26-16

Flawed and fabulous

Here's evidence that you can break literary rules and still succeed. The sheer originality and authenticity (?) of the story drives this compelling, brilliant, over-blown, extraordinary, over-written, baroque epic along. I was gripped and addicted and listened, laughed and cried through the whole 40+ freaking hours.

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  • Aldona Brown
  • 03-17-16

great book

loved the book so many things happened to the main character exciting story hard to put down

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  • Trigga
  • 02-25-16

My favorite book of all time

Loved the narration by Humphrey Bower still the best book ever. such an amazing life!