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Shantaram

By: Gregory David Roberts
Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
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Publisher's Summary

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 novel based on the life of the author, Gregory David Roberts. In 1978 Roberts was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment as punishment for a series of robberies of building-society branches, credit unions, and shops he had committed while addicted to heroin. In July 1980 he escaped from Victoria's maximum-security prison in broad daylight, thereby becoming one of Australia's most wanted men for what turned out to be the next 10 years. For most of this period he lived in Bombay. He set up a free health clinic in the slums, acted in Bollywood movies, worked for the Bombay mafia as a forger, counterfeiter, and smuggler and, as a gun-runner, resupplied a unit of mujaheddin guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. This is the setting of Shantaram.

Apart from having this highly unusual personal background, Greg Roberts is a very gifted writer. His book is a blend of vivid dialogue, unforgettable characters, amazing adventures and superb evocations of Indian life. It can be listened to as a vast, extended thriller as well as a superbly written meditation on the nature of good and evil. It is a compelling tale of a hunted man who had lost everything - his home, his family and his soul - and came to find his humanity while living at the wildest edge of experience.

Gregory David Roberts retired from public life in 2014 to devote time to his family and new writing projects. 

©2003 Gregory David Roberts (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A literary masterpiece... it has the grit and pace of a thriller." (The Daily Telegraph)

"Shantaram is not so much a mirror as a mirror ball, spinning with relentless drive...Gloriously audacious." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Extraordinarily vivid...a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga." (The Daily Mail)

What listeners say about Shantaram

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  • Overall
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Profoundly emotionally stirring...

an authentic life of deep human connection that resonates with my own 'exile'in India & Asia.
This nuanced narration,
replete with all the accents & the cultures that speak through these voices ,has transported me directly into the living, breathing memory that still remains with me, of the choices I made & the wisdom I've gained from both my own poor choices & those made more consciously...the consequences of the effects I had on those around me & the love & faith shown to me by people of many cultures remains my inner strength to this day.

A poignant & touching reminder of what being human & vulnerable , encapsulates.

It took GDR 13 years to compose the first draught & although I had read this 'tomè' many years ago over many weeks...pausing & returning to the pages.. I've listened in less than a week, over days & nights to the audio reading & the profound impact it has had, is on a much deeper level.

Humphrey Bower has given truth to each of these characters, fictional as they purportedly are..they are familiar people I too have met & known 'in the flesh' & were I a writer of GDRs' depth & competence, I would bring to life with my pen in the telling of my own rendition of a life lived in Asia & my arrival at the point I am now...reflecting on a narrative that speaks volumes & gives voice to many of my own personal life experiences as an exile of my own volition & all of the concomittant realisations I live with today.
So Salaam & Namaste to the conveyors of this heartfelt epic 🙏..
this has stirred a new sense of intention for me at a time when I have felt limited & contained by global circumstance.
There is always a choice to be made , it's only a matter of time & attention to possibility, before taking another step onto a preferred path.

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20 people found this helpful

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Shantaram

Humphrey Bower’s narration is superb and brings this long story to life - without his mastery of defining each character through their individual accents I may have found it hard to follow. I loved learning about the indian underworld and the author’s descriptions of place, climate and smell had the reader transported to Bombay.

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2 people found this helpful

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A powerful and beautifully written novel

I lovely this story.. the power of the words so beautifully expressed ...
Everyone who loves the written word and a good story should read this book

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2 people found this helpful

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Best Book Ever!

Unreal! aAt first I was daunted to start it given its length, but from the day I did I couldn't put it down! highly recommend!

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Brilliant narration

This book is certainly a journey. The first half of the story right from the first page was stunning and captivating, it took you through a whirlwind of emotions. I laughed and cried many times. I struggled a little through the Afganastan war portion. I will also say Lynn the main character was not very likable at times, I found him extremely egotistical but the characters around him made up for it. Overall a beautiful eye opening story that shows the true beauty and sadness of India and its people. Loved it.
A Special mention of the narrator, he was perfection.

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1 person found this helpful

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Incredible

absolutely epic book. the writer keeps you wanting more and more. all time favourite

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New Fave!

Wow! What an adventure of a book!! This book has aided in my procreation coz I just wanted to know what happens, worrying, fearing, hoping and loving all the characters. iam blown away by how they have been brought to life in this reading. Never have I ever wanted a book to become a movie more than this book and if done well it could become my fave movie just as this book and reading of it has become one of my faves.

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Great book!

Enjoyed every minute of the book. Narrator did a great job. A life changing experience that gives you a lot of life lesson and motivation.

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Loved it

An epic adventure, the characters felt so real. The writing is poetic, beautiful. I love india, and have lived there - the magic of India, or rather it’s people is captured in the telling of this tale.
The narrator is brilliant at accents!
After 42 hours of listening - I’m missing it already.

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  • Overall
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Loved, loved loved this epic tale!

Humour, wisdom, philosophy, history, insight, heartbreak, struggle, tragedy…and more!
Well written and wonderfully performed.

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