A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld.
In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan...
Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It's a profound tribute to his willpower...
©2003 Gregory David Roberts (P)2006 Black Stone Audio Inc
"Extraordinary vivid...a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga." (Daily Mail)
"Powerful and original...a remarkable achievement." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Vivid and compassionate...impressive." (Guardian)
"A publishing phenomenon." (Sunday Times)
I think this was one of the best books I have ever read and the narrater was excellient and the book made me laugh and it made me cry and I was sorry when it was finished
India is one of my favourite countries and I loved this book from the very first chapter where he described the sights, sounds and smells of Bombay - I felt I was there. I am not quite at the end of the book - hate getting to the end of a fascinating story, so am slowly savouring the last few chapters. Wonderful book
I absolutely loved this amazing story and I'm totally looking forward to the sequel. The difference voice for the different characters really made it an enjoyable listening experience.
Not only is the story captivating and addictive, but the performance is the best I have listened to. I genuinely feel that I've gained more listening to this book than I would have had reading it myself. Hearing the characters and their accents come to life genuinely enriched the experience that is Shantaram.
Simply put, as much as I'd say the story is a MUST read the Shantaram audiobook read by Humphrey Bower is a MUST listen!!!!
This was a fantastic book, and Humphrey Baweris probably one of the worlds best niraters of Audiobooks. I was a bit dubious coming into it, but I do like travel books, Gregory Roberts intertwines his story contextplace and spirit very well my only minor criticism is that sometimes he tried to use to flowery language to describe something that was basic or that didn't need flowery language in its beauty because of the way it is it the same that's a very minor point
Wife, mother, nanna, part time actor, avid reader, world traveller, golfer, bridge player, lover of life.
Shantaram was a book I had planned to listen to a long time ago. I finally got to listen and it was superb. I enjoyed everything about it. The Narrator Humphrey Bower is my favourite and anything narrated by him is on my list. The Characters took on a life of their own and the detail of each and every personality I could not fault. A book by this author again? Yes most definitely! Read by Humphrey Bower, Absolutely! NO discussion entered into.
Here's evidence that you can break literary rules and still succeed. The sheer originality and authenticity (?) of the story drives this compelling, brilliant, over-blown, extraordinary, over-written, baroque epic along. I was gripped and addicted and listened, laughed and cried through the whole 40+ freaking hours.
Amazing story. beautifully written and told. makes me wondering what I am doing with my life.
"Best book I've ever read"
The metaphors are briliant. the narator is perfect for the role and this book came alive in not just my mind but also my heart.
Recommended for all.
"A true masterpiece"
This book surely has one of the best performances by it's narrator of any audio book, the characters were brought to life beautifully and visually, quite stunning.
The story is magnificent but like any true work of brilliance it would not be possible to do it justice with a mere description.
I honestly can't think of one, I consider myself quite well read and this book is right up there with the best of them
There are several moments which show true insight, the entire book is a pleasure to read
So many fantastic characters, Prabaka must be one of the most memorable ~ I can see his smile ;)
Don't hesitate, this is one of the truly great audio books and I've read many of them. The performance alone is worth a listen.
Loved every aspect of this book. The narrator was very consistent in his voices. The story was good, long but not boring or tedious. Just generally a good listen.
"The sights and smells of India"
A truly stunning book about India, especially Mumbai or as most locals still call the city, Bombay! It paint a great picture of day to day life, albeit the darker side. Having spent a decent amount of time in Bombay and India, I can say hand on heart that it's a brilliant read and always take me back to the glorious sights and smells of India. Well worth the listen.
Everyone should read this story. It will stay with me forever and I can't wait to read the follow-up.
"Great story from beginning to end"
I have read the book and listened twice. This is my favorite!
Great narrator! I want more of the same
"Best book I have ever read"
loved the way Gregory writes. I have physically read the book also. thank you Gregory💋
"Gripping story beautifully told yet literary weak"
Most likely not. In my opinion think Roberts literary qualities are too weak and if he didn't have such a fascination story to tell I would not have gone through the ever returning choice of words meaningless descriptions of what people are wearing and the never ending lamentation of supposedly spiritual meaning.
the description of places and people in Bombay was exceptional, fascination and authentic. The way Roberts always seemed to keep something in his sleeve which one could be sure would soon enough be revealed.
The accents of the natives especially Prabu. The differences and authenticity in the Australian, Indian and New York accents.On the other hand the German and Swiss accents and the female voices he tried to imitate had an irritating ad probably unintentional note of persiflage which made the main female character even more repugnant in the audio than if I would have read the book.
The author gave all he had in the first half of the book, after that it slipped into trivia and drab description. Especially the descriptions of the woman where weak and unbelievable.
There is no way I would have read the book past the first half. Having it told to me while working was somehow tolerable but all in all it should have been much shorter.Too much trivia about gangster honor, beautiful woman with sea green eyes long tanned legs and gory descriptions of wounds and war horrors.His female characters remained flat and lifeless stereotypes all of them dumb, naive and corrupted while there was great enthusiastic investment in (so called) brotherly love, honor, gangster and weapon romantic and all that homoerotic denial repertoire.
"What a book, what a performance!"
What a great book! I've never read a book so interesting. The story is extremely exciting and you really learn to love the characters. I love it!
If you pass this book by, you'll really miss out.
"An incredible piece of art (written & narrated)"
I had read Shantaram in 2009 whilst travelling through India and loved the story so much that I recomended this book to all my friends and family. I wanted to read the book again but decided to listen to the audio version instead. I was concerned that i might not enjoy the experience as much and probably end up dissapointed as when you see a bad film version of a book you have loved and enjoyed so much. To my delight i was hooked right from the start. What an incredible performance by the narrator Humphrey Bower! It has been an amazing experience. Thank you for putting your heart and soul in this beautifully written book.
"AN ABSOLUTELY, MAGNIFICENT , MASTERPIECE!!"
Words fail to describe how good this book is!! It is 43 hours long and I loved every minute. I can honestly say that there was not a moment that I was not gripped with this epic drama.
The story is set in India and is about an Australian fugitive and the friendships he makes with people in the slums, the local mafia and other foreign nationals. This book is based on
the life of the author who did all those things. It is unclear how much is fact and how much is fiction. However, I am sure that the author's experience contributes to the life-like characters and the feeling that you are in the heart of India as the story unfolds.
The book is a literary work of genius. Wonderfully written. There were so many thought-provoking moments.
The narration is brilliant and the narrator slips easily into the Hindi and Marathi. It is true that he does not express the voices of women as well, but this did not disrupt my enjoyment of this book. I believe this book took 13 years to write and you will be able to see why.
I loved it! Loved it ! Loved it!
This is a wonderful book, a masterpiece that is made up the stories of so many different characters that are all closely woven together, in a beautiful, colourful, warm, blanket. I can see why this book is an international bestseller.
This book is highly recommended! Do not be put off by the size of it, you will not be disappointed.
"Enjoy the Ride!"
To a friend used to the kinds of beautifully-crafted prose that might be expected in a typical work of literary fiction, and for whom the quality of the writing itself is important I would suggest they think twice before starting this book. As other reviewers have said, it contains a good deal of pompous, purple, cliche-ridden and dubious writing and is the worse for it. However to a friend who loves an adventure novel, a travel book and a ripping yarn, I would heartily recommend. The cast of characters is cliched, many of them horribly stereotyped, thin and poorly drawn, the first-person narrator comes across as a narcissistic twit and I'm astonished these problems with the book were not better addressed at editing stage. By contrast the characters of Bombay, of Pakistan and Afghanistan, of the bars and chai shops and streets and slums are deliciously, sensuously described and are the real stars of this huge great show of a novel. What Gregory David Roberts lacks in creating believable, sympathetic characters he more than makes up for in writing a romping good story, full of exquisite descriptive detail, brilliant highs and desperate, heart rending lows. Humphrey Bower's handling of the many voices, accents and dialects in this novel, and the range of feeling he communicates is a joy to listen to. I was close to giving up on the book after the first few chapters because the writing was annoying me so much. How grateful I am to have persevered; to have stopped judging the book by its faults, and to simply enjoy it for the rollicking good ride that it is.
I hadn't come across Humphrey Bower before but will now be seeking out more of his work: the reading was first-class.
I was basically hooked into this book.. Can't believe I waited so long.. must read..learnt so many things that I did not know about India..
Loved use of language especially when describing the smallest of facial expressions. The crowd scenes and activities of India come alive. Interesting historical references. This book is brought alive by the performance which is beyond words. The narration was outstanding
"Excellent reading of a great story"
I'd read the book before and really enjoyed it. I saw it was available on Audible and thought that, if well done, it would be a fantastic audiobook to get completely immersed in. I wasn't disappointed. The book is not without its flaws, but it's a compelling and epic story that I find myself totally hooked by.
Hard to pick a favourite as there are so many compelling characters. I think the audio version of the book really brought out some of the more minor characters, for example Didier.
I was impressed by his ability to voice all the characters. There are so many and I thought he did a really good job giving each an individual voice.
So many - and impossible to say without giving major spoilers!
A great book, turned into a brilliant audiobook.
"Great for a rookie!"
Brave, free, good
Having spent some time traveling in India I could relate to quite a few of the characters. Prabu is my favourite because he made me feel happy!
The book gets darker as it goes on so I really enjoyed the naive getting to know India/ Mumbai in the beginning of the book.
I am unfortunately no copywriter...
This is a great book for all that love India. Gregory David Roberts has very much grasped how India is a very orderly mess. That's how I always felt about the place.
"True lies make excellent stories"
This is a great story, an old fashion yarn, some of it is true some is writers licence, this is not a negative, if anything it makes the tale more interesting and characters more lovable; because y suspect that unadorned and unromanticized they would be run of the mill thugs or drug addicts. the writer loves to infuse this ruffians with noble ideas and grandiose motives for their dastardly actions, it gives him and his egoism a better defense and a more romantic persona.
The Bombay underworld and Bombay in the eighties open up to be explored in the pages of this book and this never disappoints giving us many surprises and unimaginable experiences, a little of rural India seeps through and glimps of what was to become the modern Muslim movement beginning to awaken from India to Afghanistan, during the russian occupation, some of those conversations are prophetic but unaware of their place in history.
The editor was not present enough in some places, this is a large book that could have been tighten up a little with out loosing any of its charm. For me the philosophising from some of the character was not handle properly, and was way too long, but that is a minor complaint when you consider all the good in this book.
You will not be disappointed, this is a fun and interesting read that lends itself to some investigation in the net, where you will find plenty of controversy on the veracity of some of the writers claims; I found that even the deniers some how proved that a lot the tale is true or based on fact.
The reader was excellent and made the book come alive.
"Inside the Bombay Mafia"
Firstly hats off to Humphrey Bower what an amazing narrator.
This book was a rollercoaster adventure of life in India more specifically Bombay and the mafia that controls it. Some of the book I feel was written and remembered in a drug infused haze, but was very philosophical. Mr Roberts descriptions were often over the top, with more adjectives than you could cook dinner with. There were parts of the story that were unbelievable, when he saved someones life with CPR, he had just described the person as blue with rigor mortis!
Never the less it was still an excellent book. I still feel there are questions to what happened next, and also what of his past life and family in Australia now?
This is quite possibly the best book I have ever read or listened to.
The story is deep, funny, and interesting all at the same time. Yet showing a serious and violent background.
In all a truly fantastic piece of work.
BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT
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