Diane's Reviews > Shantaram

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
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's review
Jul 28, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: everyone
Read in August, 2007

If you want to read a movie-in-a-book, this one is for you. It's a fantastic and mostly autobiographical story about a guy who busts out of a prison in Australia and goes into exhile in Bombay - he starts a free clinic in a slum, gets involved in black market dealings, and of course, falls in love. It has everything you would ever want in a good adventure story - excitement, intrigue, passion, the mafia, drugs, murder, scandal. And it's well-written. Roberts' sentences are so delicious - so vivid - that I found myself re-reading all the time just for the sheer pleasure of rolling them around longer. On one page, his writing took me from anger, to actual tears, to laughing out loud - it's one of those rare books that grips you and really sings.

The two reasons I gave it four stars instead of five are because the last third of the book drags a bit - and even this might not be a fair criticism, since the first 2/3 are so spectacular, so wonderful, that anything would pale in comparison. And there are times when his writing went a bit overboard. It's difficult to write about matters of the heart, and philosophy-in-life, and even more basic things like food and location descriptions, without sounding a bit overblown and cliche, and although I think his writing is excellent, there are definitely "groaner" moments - particularly the lovey crap that doesn't normally appeal to me anyhow - where I thought "Damn. His editor really should have cut that." I still insist that you all read this - it's wonderful, and is probably the best pleasure-reading book I have read in several years.
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03/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Hi stranger!

I just read your review of REAL FOOD & enjoyed it.

Then I saw this -- the book I almostalmost bought in the airport last month but decided against at the last minute. Now I regret that decision; it's back on my library list!

message 2: by Ross (new)

Ross Jess - we saw this in all the sharing libraries over in India. Apparently it's the big thing in Europe, but I haven't seen it back here.

Graeme Hi Diane just a quick note that Roberts escaped from a prison in australia Pentridge i think it was not new zealand

Diane Graeme wrote: "Hi Diane just a quick note that Roberts escaped from a prison in australia Pentridge i think it was not new zealand"

Right you are! Thanks!


Elizabeth Based on this fab write up, I purchased this book and it arrived yesterday. Can't wait to read it.

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