Book Reviews of Shantaram

Author: Gregory David Roberts
ISBN-13: 9780312330538
ISBN-10: 0312330537
Publication Date: 10/1/2005
Pages: 944
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 81 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

23 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Shantaram on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I've had this book on my TBR stack for over a year--he size of it itself is very daunting: nearly a thousand pages of small print. Once I started it, I could see that it was a very dense, rich novel, and it did take me over 2 weeks to finish it, which is longer than any other novel in recent history has taken me. I guess you'd call it a literary novel in some respects--he author certainly has a way with words, and I found myself grabbing my journal and scribbling down quotations from it very frequently. Some flowery and wordy, others simple yet very profound, and still others that sucker-punched me right in the guts and quite literally took my breath away.

It's a semi-autobiographical novel about an Australian man who is a convicted criminal (armed robbery and heroin dealing) who escapes from an Australian prison and is a fugitive for many years, living most of them in Bombay, India. He becomes immersed in the Indian culture, learning two of their languages, living in their slums and eventually becoming a member of the Bombay mafia. While there, he lives, loves, and has a series of very wild and interesting adventures, including becoming involved in the Russian-Afghani war near Kandahar. This is a long, long book but a very good one, too. It's about India, yes--but it's also about life, the universe and everything. At some point after the events in the book take place, he is recaptured and serves out the remainder of his prison term and he wrote this book while in prison. I'm very glad I finally got to reading this book, though I know it's not for everyone--there's lots of graphic violence, and in parts gets long-winded and slows down. Not everyone will love it, though I do recommend everyone at least give it a try. Superb!
reviewed Shantaram on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is the best book I've read in a long time. It was given to me by my son and I held on to it for over a year before I ever attempted it (the size is intimidating.) Since my son and I do not generally have the same taste in books (I go for much lighter reading than he does), I didn't expect to get through it but I was so pleasantly surprised and very happy that I finally opened it. I knew nothing about India but this book really brought that country and its people alive for me and made me want to visit someday. I really enjoyed the character Prabaker -- he was hilarious and so, so lovable. I thought Lin (the author and main character) came across a bit full of himself at times, but his writing is excellent and his descriptions are just great! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a long, involved, but really fascinating story.
reviewed Shantaram on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I wish I had read this book before traveling to India. There is so much to like about it, that I hesitate to criticize that small portion of the book that focuses on the philosophy of the leader of the Bombay mafia. That was difficult for me to swallow as it was a little preach-y. The rest of the book (the vast majority of the book) is action packed and, more to the point, paints a vivid, colorful and accurate picture of so much of what I saw there. It's a lengthy book, but difficult to put down. I'm glad I read it.
reviewed Shantaram on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Having visited India myself, I can vouch for the many accurate descriptions in this book. It's definitely lengthy, but it gives you a great chance to immerse yourself for the weekend!
reviewed Shantaram on
Helpful Score: 2
One of the best books I've read. I love the author's style of writing, he captures you in the first paragraph of the book. He portrays Bombay as if it were a character in the book and he develops the characters with a lot of detail, bringing you into everyone's lives. The book is full of philosophical gems and some twists and turns that are all resolved by the end of the book. I always find it fascinating to be brought into a different culture and this author does a excellent job of drawing you into the slums of Bombay and the world of the mafia.
reviewed Shantaram on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is absolutely THE best book I have ever read. I find that amazing to say as I have literally read several thousand throughout my life. I was captured irretrievably by the first sentence and couldn't put the book down until I finished it. I only slept a few hrs. a night throughout the weekend it took to do so.

Amazing in its' scope and depth- covering the vast range of extraordinary experiences that were these chapters in Mr. Roberts life--I don't doubt that this is a completely true account of that life even tho' it is labled a "novel based on his life". No one could write so deeply and with such insight and compassion about a panorama of experience with the human condition and detail of place without a first hand knowledge of what he writes.

It truly does "have everything" love, passion, compassion, cruelty, suspense, mystery, Spirituality, surprise, tragedy, damnation and Redemption. And a view of India and her culture that I would wager an infintestimal number of Westerners have ever had the chance to read about before, let alone experience first-hand.
I was in love w. Mr. Roberts before the first third was done. And was delighted to hear that he has had the movie rights purchased for $8 million by none other than Johnny Depp. That's a movie I will put down a book for-- altho' with the scope of Shantaram I'm not sure exactly how such a movie can be made!

I recommend this book to anyone who reads. Just be prepared to turn off the phone,disconnect the doorbell and cancel all outings and visitors because even if you want to your attention will not be focused anywhere but this amazing book for the duration.
reviewed Shantaram on + 468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Completely blown away by Gregory David Roberts's semi-autobiographical novel. At 18 discs and 23 plus hours, it requires a huge investment of time, but is so well worth it. It's a mesmerizing story, and masterfully narrated by Humphrey Bower, who brought the streets of Bombay, Lin and all the many characters alive for me. I've purchased the book in paperback to reread slowly and savor, and pre-ordered the next installment. What a talent! Very, very highly recommended.
reviewed Shantaram on
Helpful Score: 2
One of the best books I read in 2006. The imagery of India is fantastic. This is a big book but it is also a really hard to put down book. You can really immerse yourself in this book. Well written.
reviewed Shantaram on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
superb description of life in India, unflinching portrayal of poverty, yet the humanity that exists even in deplorable conditions. Main characters well developed
reviewed Shantaram on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An incredible book about human nature and how much we take for granted - it kept me interested from start to finish.

Look for the movie to come out next year, produced by(and rumored to be starring)Johnny Depp!!
reviewed Shantaram on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a very moving book. It has taken great discipline to put it down to do my day to day tasks. Each page is filled with experiences that are unimaginable. I highly recommend all 900+ pages of it.
reviewed Shantaram on
Helpful Score: 1
This book is a great read. I read it while I was traveling throughout SE Asia and found it to be very fun and thrilling. It's the kind of book that will keep you awake until the wee hours of the morning wanting more and more. If you are the kind of person who enjoys travel and adventure I would highly recommend this book.
reviewed Shantaram on + 7 more book reviews
Loved it. This book has something for everyone in it!
reviewed Shantaram on
I bought this 933 page book in order to have something to read on a long flight home from New Zealand. It kept me entertained for the entire 13 hours. If you enjoy stories about slumlife in India then you will find this book fascinating.
reviewed Shantaram on + 6 more book reviews
Like reading a poetic action movie. This was a "hit" for me on every level. When will they make it into a movie already?
reviewed Shantaram on + 38 more book reviews
This book is simply wonderful. Don't be put off by the size of it (it is over 900 pages), they all go by fast. I was immersed in Indian culture to the point that I was even trying to do that head waggle. :)
reviewed Shantaram on + 3 more book reviews
I loved this book!! One of my all time favorites. Can't wait for the movie!!
reviewed Shantaram on
Great read, ends weird, but I guess that just represents the h uman condition of going on, and on, and on...
reviewed Shantaram on + 270 more book reviews
This was an absolutely incredible story. Even though it is almost 1000 pages, I had a hard time putting it down. What I enjoyed most about the book was the depth of feeling the author portrays in his story.
reviewed Shantaram on
Shantaram is an amazing story that will keep you engaged from the first page. I have recommended this book to all of my friends. I flagged quotes that I felt were worth re-reading and my copy is full of flags! This is one of the few books I plan to read again.

Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until weve loved them, left them, or fought them.
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
reviewed Shantaram on + 25 more book reviews
Whew!! This was a lengthy but interesting read.
The writer, Gregory David Roberts, has an amazing power of description (Maybe a bit too much at times.)
My one frustration was trying to keep all the characters lined up.
After a while it was just a blur of names, faces, and situations.
Vivid insight into a life one can't even imagine.
A good book for those long winter days/nights.
reviewed Shantaram on
This book is long but well worth your time. I could not put it down. I could feel the searing heat of the streets in Mumbai and smell the garbage. I felt for the people who struggle daily for their exsistance. It made me realize that we are all really the same. It made me want to go to India even more!!
reviewed Shantaram on + 20 more book reviews
"A sprawling, intellegent novel...full of vibrant characters..."- The Washington Post