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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
Shantaram is a mesmerizing novel about an Australian heroin addict who escapes jail and flees to disappear into the slums of Bombay. Be careful - you will not be able to put this book down. The main character Lin narrates this epic tale, which reportedly (and a little controversially) is based off the real-life experience of the author, Gregory David Roberts. Lin ingratiates himself with the community by establishing a medical clinic, but then he gets caught into a world of organized crime that leads him to murder, prison, and war. This tumultuous web is further complicated by his relationship with the beautiful but elusive Karla, the love of his life who has her own painful secrets. It isn’t clear exactly how much of the novel is true, but Shantaram regardless is a fascinating story of life in Bombay, of beggars, gangsters, refugees, prostitutes, outcasts, and spiritual gurus, all told with an underlying passionate love for the human experience, for the power of redemption, and for the culture of India. The book’s name means "Man of Peace", or "Man of God's Peace”.
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ABOUT GREGORY DAVID ROBERTS
Gregory David Roberts is an Australian author and former heroin addict who actually did escape from jail in 1980 to free to India. He was eventually caught and was extradited back to Australia to finish his sentence where he began writing Shantaram, despite having the manuscript twice destroyed by prison wardens. Amazingly, Shantaram was his first novel. In 2015, Roberts published the long-awaited sequel, The Mountain Shadow, the story of Lin’s return to a new Bombay, with an increasingly violent criminal underbelly and a holy man who challenges everything Lin thought he has learned.
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GREAT QUOTES FROM SHANTARAM
"That is how they manage to live together, a billion of them, in reasonable peace. They are not perfect, of course. They know how to fight and lie and cheat each other, and all the things that all of us do. But more than any other people in the world, the Indians know how to love one another."
“One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you.”
MAP OF BOMBAY (NOW CALLED MUMBAI)