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Shantaram

2004 . Fiction, Travel . Gregory David Roberts

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Everyone

About the book

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"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.

Year:

2004

Language:

English

ISBN:

192076920X (ISBN13: 9781920769208)

Reviews

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Xenia Kamenjuk

1 year ago

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Genuinely one of the best books I’ve ever read, incredibly fascinating story. 100% captivating writing, feels like being inside it. Super lively depictions of Indian culture and life in Bombay. The Afghanistan part of the book was ruthless and honest, and just hit all the feels. Can’t recommend enough.

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Christina Wolstrup

1 year ago

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En lang men fantastisk bog! Fås også som lydbog.

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Morten V Schroeder image

1 year ago

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I’m a bit torn on this review. Shantaram is a fascinating book that takes you on a journey inside Indian and Bombay culture that is amazing and enlightening. The character development is phenomenal and the story is ruthless and honest. On the other hand it is also immensely long (1000 pages). Way too long if you ask me. It took me a long time to get through! The story could have been told in half the size and large portions of the storyline seem irrelevant (Afghanistan portion). Throughout the book I was struggling to figure out where the author was going and what he was trying to tell me. Now that I’m finished I’m still not really sure. At the same time this is also what makes the book fascinating and hard to put away. It’s the PERFECT book for a book club and I wish I had someone I could have discussed it with along the way! Overall the first half is better than the second half. I’m torn between 7 or 8 but I’ll round up!