“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.” Shantaram is a 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts, in which a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict escapes from Pentridge Prison flees to India.  Soon, Linbaba or “Lin” arrives in Bombay. He puts his faith in local guide Prabaker and later becomes a good friend of his. Later on, Lin finds a profound inner peace and he is given a name ‘Shantaram’ – a man of peace. He also falls in love and becomes a slum doctor and also ends up in Afghanistan in the middle of war. To summarize, it’s very long book and and the plot is very rich.

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

I adored this book. First time reading this it seemed to me that this was a memoir rather than a novel. Of course, you soon get that not everything could have happened but as the author has said in numerous parts that some parts are true and other parts he has invented. I think this book paints a very alluring picture of Bombay (official name of Mumbai until 1995), even if it also describes for example Bombay’s crime, drugs, mafia, slums and prisons.

I have never been to India, however, I think that out of all books  I have read that have been set in India, this is definitely the most beautiful one. It made me want to pack my bag and leave immediately to India, even after all I read about Mumbai. Moreover, I just like reading longer books. I feel like I can better understand the author and the world and characters they have created. Writing style of this book is beautiful a mix of lyrical and philosophical and I think it just describes life very well. All in all, Shantaram is powerful and epic novel.

5/5 stars

“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 we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

 How- To Read Shantaram

1. If you’re looking for a novel set in India, look no further.
2. It’s very long but very worth of your time. About 936 pages… almost one thousand pages. Yay?
3. I don’t know how to explain this novel properly but I think you’ll like it if you like long books about life and death in general and if you have like books with ramblings, philosophies about life.
4. There’s a sequel called The Mountain Shadow.
5. There has been some talk for many years about turning this book into a film which would star Johnny Depp. I guess it’s now in what media industry calls a development hell or development limbo.

“The truth is a bully we all pretend to like”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram