Shantaram Shantaram discussion


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message 1: by Meg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meg Hardy Great story, great imagery. A little pretentious at his attempt at philosophy. Overall a very good read.


message 2: by Chuckell (new) - added it

Chuckell Overwritten, basically absurd. A lot pretentious at his attempt at philosophy--also psychology and sociology. It seems clear to me at least that this was one western dude's wildest fantasy about what travelling in India might lead to--"I was accepted and beloved everywhere I went, from the poorest slums to the richest mafia hangouts! I had deep philosophical discussions while stoned on the best-quality hashish! I fought brutal battles and always came out on top!"

I just finished this book last night--I was standing at the bus stop right next to someone's paper-recycling pile. I turned the last page just as the bus arrived, so I was able to drop the book right there. Now that is kismet.


Alma I have met the author and know his nephew. Although it is billed as a novel the main story is true to his life's story. I do agree with the pretentiousness in his writing, but to give him credit, it's a good story. Even more so for it being mostly true!


message 4: by Chuckell (new) - added it

Chuckell Right. Since someone willing to lie to thousands of readers would never lie right to someone's face. I would have liked the book better if it were marketed as a straight-up fantasy, rather than the coy come-on that it's somehow autobiographical.


Fredsky Hey, Hey! What do you expect? He's a criminal, right?

I don't like him much, but clearly he wrote his brains out to produce this monster. So I guess he earned his money the hard way this time.


message 6: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz Wow I'm surprised to see so many disparaging reviews! I was the last in my family of four to read Shantaram, and I read it at the urging of my parents and brother. They -- and I -- absolutely loved the book. I found it engaging, compelling, beautifully written.

A fantastic story. I would recommend it to anyone who a). loves travel or b). loves India. Especially ex-pats. Wow what a beautiful book; what I want to know, is how anyone who hated it as much as other seem to got through 900 pages?


Fredsky Fredsky wrote: "Hey, Hey! What do you expect? He's a criminal, right?

I don't like him much, but clearly he wrote his brains out to produce this monster. So I guess he earned his money the hard way this time."


In reply to Liz,
It's hard to like somebody who is so in love with himself already. He sort of eats up the field. But it IS a story, and it's got lots of hooks! Why put it down until it's over? Then you just have to find another story anyway...


Ashu Liz wrote: "Wow I'm surprised to see so many disparaging reviews! I was the last in my family of four to read Shantaram, and I read it at the urging of my parents and brother. They -- and I -- absolutely lo..."

certainly agree with you and considering the fact that Robert wrote this book capturing what he had gone through and felt along his journey in the subcontinent, was least worried about the fancy writing skills....i appreciate his honesty for whatever he has written or could not write :)


Susieville Amazing story of redemption


Heather Rowe-Stevens Liked the book immensely (agree that it was a little pretentious in parts) but treated it like a work of fiction. Its like Geronimo's Bones author who panned his work off as autobiographical and it was later found out to be untrue. Why can't these authors simply state that their work is fictional. Its still a great read.


Xander Meg wrote: "Great story, great imagery. A little pretentious at his attempt at philosophy. Overall a very good read."

I have to agree with you Meg, the philosophy did seem a little pretentious and disjointed at times, but then when doesn't philosophy sound pretentious?


Moulee Xander wrote: "Meg wrote: "Great story, great imagery. A little pretentious at his attempt at philosophy. Overall a very good read."

I have to agree with you Meg, the philosophy did seem a little pretentious and..."


so true..philosophy can rarely sound non-pretentious...


Moulee i thought the book had some major editing issues...so so so so many unnecessary details.....most of the people abandon it because of that...at some parts, it was nice and honest but the philosophy seemed shallow to me too...


message 14: by A (new) - rated it 4 stars

A I loved this book, there are a lot of parts that should have been cut out/trimmed and it's loaded with purple prose but he captured India so well.


Susieville can't wait until his next book comes out


Cateline I read Shantaram last year, and while I agree it was slightly pretentious, it was an interesting story of a fascinating place and time. I certainly enjoyed it thoroughly.


Siddharth Sharma Many books have been written with Mumbai(Bombay) as the place of action. I am reminded of Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra and Suketu Mehta's Maximum City. Shantaram is good no doubt,I read it in 2007 winters and still remember vividly some of its tales.

I guess how good a book is can be judged by the amount of it which remains into your mind after completing it. I read Maximum City a year ago and can't even remember a thing about it. Shantaram is stored in patches and Sacred Games is still fresh in my mind.


marquie Cateline wrote: "I read Shantaram last year, and while I agree it was slightly pretentious, it was an interesting story of a fascinating place and time. I certainly enjoyed it thoroughly."

I agree, when I finished the book I couldn't help but mull over the suspicion that not all of the book was based on reality.


Cateline Marquie wrote: "Cateline wrote: "I read Shantaram last year, and while I agree it was slightly pretentious, it was an interesting story of a fascinating place and time. I certainly enjoyed it thoroughly."

I agree, when I finished the book I couldn't help but mull over the suspicion that not all of the book was based on reality.

..."


I suspected the same. Finally, I decided that it was possible that he wrote of incidents that had happened, but colored them the way he wished they'd gone, with,let's say slanted hindsight.


message 20: by Julz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julz I really love the insights and the philosophies in this book. Most of them caught the essence of me.The author has the knack to relate his experiences. :-)


message 21: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann Annesley A great read although lacking in depth on his philosophy


marquie Ann wrote: "A great read although lacking in depth on his philosophy"

how is it lacking in depth on the author's philosophy? i found it extremely deep and insightful...


message 23: by Julz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julz Ann wrote: "A great read although lacking in depth on his philosophy"

It ain't deficient. :-) The book is simply amazing and wonderfully written.


marquie Julz wrote: "Ann wrote: "A great read although lacking in depth on his philosophy"

It ain't deficient. :-) The book is simply amazing and wonderfully written."


fair enough :)


Vaibhav Sharma during reading it mostly i got the shantaram characters dreams ...its a amazing roller coaster ride for me.


message 26: by Lyndsey (last edited Jul 22, 2012 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyndsey I really liked this book, though i found the author / main character quite deeply unlikable. Some sections are clearly fantasy (or the most rose-tinted perspective possible) and cringingly boastful but that makes the character more 'real' to me as it shows his narcissism and machismo.
That to me is the sign of a good book - it's easy to like a book if you like or identify with the narrator, far more of an acheivement to produce a book like Shantaram.


Nancy I enjoyed the descriptions of both India and the characters, but the author really needed a better editor on this book. It was far too long and his attempts at philosophizing weakened the book in many ways. While many passages were very descriptive and quite beautiful, many more were way over the top and very obviously trying too hard. Again...where was his editor?


Nicholas Tavizon Nancy wrote: "I enjoyed the descriptions of both India and the characters, but the author really needed a better editor on this book. It was far too long and his attempts at philosophizing weakened the book in ..."

It's interesting that you say the book was too long. I do remember thinking this when I picked the book up, however, after reading the first line I knew at that instant every word was needed. I can sympathize, but I don't empathize. The poetic nature drew me in and never relinquished its careful caress.


Christopher Herz Every person I recommend this book to comes back and thanks me. I love knowing that others are experiencing it for the first time. Like I'm watching the journey of someone else watching the journey for the first time.


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