Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)'s Reviews > Shantaram

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
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's review
Jun 14, 2015

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, india, 2011, adult-lit, diverse-reads
Recommended to Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee) by: A Sales Associate at Barnes & Noble
Recommended for: Everyone
Read from September 08 to December 14, 2011 — I own a copy

Shantaram is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, so I decided to give it another read.

I found that I didn’t like it as much as I had the first few times I read it. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the book (a lot) and it’s still one of my favorite books of all time.

But this time, it seemed to go on forever. Granted, the book is over 900 pages long but at times, the narrator, Lin, rambled on for a little too long. Here’s a quick summary of the book: Lin escapes from a prison in Australia, escapes to India, and starts a new life there, working as a member of the mafia in Bombay and establishing a medical clinic for the people in one of the slums.

The book was (very loosely) inspired by real life events- Roberts escaped from a prison in Australia and escaped to Bombay, where…he was a street soldier for the Bombay mafia. It’s a super-fictionalized version of his own life and while certain events have ended up in the novel (and quite possibly some of the people he met), it is by no means a memoir or an autobiography.

I did love the characters, especially Prabaker. I think Prabaker is my favorite character in the whole book; however, I think Lin is my least favorite character. He offers more than his fair share of wisdom, and it got very tiresome after a while.

It’s obvious Roberts loves India, and I felt like I knew what it was really like to live in the slums and villages after finishing the book. There is a lot of detail, but I could have done without most of the descriptions of Karla and how beautiful she is. And it would have been nice if it were a tad bit shorter: while I appreciate the fact that he loves India and his time there, it would have been nice if he had left out a few details and some of the descriptions.

While it is a good book, I think it would be better suited as a movie. As for a rating, I would have to give it a 3 out of 5. I liked it, and there was a good balance between interesting characters, adventure and romance. But condensing it would have been nice.

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Reading Progress

10/12/2011 page 303
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