Cathy's Reviews > Shantaram

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
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Jul 09, 08

Recommended to Cathy by: my sister and my friend Mona
Read in July, 2008

I absolutely loved this book! I am surprised, because it's a bit different from what I usually read, and lately I haven't found many books that have been to my liking, but this one is probably one of my favorite books ever!

It's true that I was a bit annoyed at first, because Roberts uses very "flowery" language at times including lots of metaphores like: "My eyes were lost, swimming, floating free in the shimmering lagoon of her steady, even stare", "Her young face,..., looked as if it had been carved in volcanic stone by the rush of a river", "Her eyes were the colour of amber, set in rose gold, ... , and the high curves of her cheekbones were the mountains from which her amber eyes studied the world." But, strangely enough I came to really like his descriptions. Yes, they're a bit over the top at times, but they never fail to get the message across and they're seldom used without a purpose.

It's also true that in parts, especially towards the latter half, the book is pretty violent. The main caharcter, Lin, works with the Bombay mafia and encounters many fights and murders, and Roberts doesn't shy away from very vivid descriptions of these events either. However, somehow, the focus is on the people, not the actions, and so as horrible as the events may be, they didn't bother me, because I was so focused on the characters.

At first I liked the book, but it was a bit slow. Around page 100 it really picks up speed and becomes very funny and I laugehd out loud many times. Roberts' love for India and it's people is so evident in this entire book and it made me feel good! He writes with so much affection and pokes fun at himself more than anyone, and I really enjoyed his wisdom - we westerners don't always know best and just because something is "wrong" to us, doesn't mean it's really wrong, just different!

Honestly - I'd recommend this book to just about anyone. It's a long read (over 1,000 pages) but I enjoyed every minute of it and I'm returning my library copy today and ordering myself my own copy online - I can't imagine not reading this book again!
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