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Shantaram: A Novel

It's got grit and gung ho,
poignance and honesty...

Shantaram


By Gregory David Roberts


Book review by Shoi



Just two pages into Shantaram... and I knew there was no turning back — I was hooked.


Roberts sees with such fresh eyes... beauty in the mundane, dignity amidst squalor. We have our own shantytowns in Malaysia, and after this book, it'll never look the same to me again.

Another reason why I connected with this book was because I've done my own share of running away, re-inventing myself, and taken the roller-coaster journey towards self-discovery.


Shantaram is a sprawling read with more than just grit and gung ho — It disarmed me with its grace, poignance and honest lessons.

This book made me laugh, cry, despair, rejoice — I was so immersed in the colorful, endearing characters, their vulnerability, their story...

And when I reached the end, I felt a huge twinge of regret that there wasn't another 933 pages more to go!






An extraordinary story about exceptional people...


Gregory David Roberts' autobiographical novel recounts the larger-than-life escapades of a heroin addict and robber - who breaks out of an Australian prison, makes his way to Mumbai (Bombay), and re-invents himself as Lindsay (Lin).

Lin is befriended by a Mumbai street guide/taxi driver called Prabakar. Through this little guy with HEART, Lin learns the Marathi language and visits Prabakar's home village - where he's given the name Shantaram, which means "man of God's peace".

Back in Mumbai, Lin settles in a vast shantytown, and becomes their resident "doctor" when he starts an illicit free medical clinic. He also meets a Mumbai mafia don and sage-guru who not only becomes a father figure to him, but also initiates him into the world of money-laundering. And that's just scratching the surface.

From village India to the Mumbai slums, a leper colony to the city's underworld, prison (again), the enigmatic Swiss-American Karla, boogying down in Bollywood and even gun-running in Afghanistan... Lin finds love, redemption, a purpose, heartbreak - and ultimately, his own inner salvation.






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