Book Review: Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts

Shantaram Book Cover

This is the part fiction, part true story of an armed robber and heroin addict who escaped a high security prison in Australia and made his way to India. When arriving there, he starts living in a slum, opens a free health clinic, joins the mafia, learns the languages, falls in love, ends up in prison (again), takes part in Bollywood movies, and fights in a war in Afghanistan. Not only this, but he wrote the book three times after prison guard destroyed the original two versions.

This 932 page book is a rare gem that you want never to put down and you hope for it to continue forever. The author (who takes many names other than his own to avoid detection) talks openly and honestly about the events in his life and the feelings that he had at the time. Through this telling, one wonders how many people may have been incriminated by the hundreds of crimes he describes in detail.

This is a unique look into a life of adventure that has no plans and pushes all boundaries in a way that has never been known before. The book discusses love, spirituality, crime, and the difficulties with living. The characters are real and you learn to know them and to love them. This book is an inspiration for adventure.

I recommend this book without reservation and highly advise you to read it now. The beautiful-terrible description of Bombay has persuaded me to go and although I hope to avoid the mafia, cat sized rats, and packs of wild dogs, I cannot wait.

Thank-you Shantaram for something wonderful.