Friday Morning Bookclub

June 18, 2010

I Did It!!!!!

Filed under: Book Recomendations,Literary Tidbits — susanbright @ 5:28 pm

I finally finished reading Shantaram! According to my GoodReads Page, I officially started reading it 39 days ago. This is a long book, just under 1000 pages and is not a quick read! My 23 year old son downloaded it for me to read on my then brand new Kindle (a wonderful gift from The Friday Morning Bookclub). This was the first book he had ever recommended I read so of course I was going to finish it no matter what! Shantarm was written by Gregory David Roberts, and  reviews claim that it is largely autobiographical. After separating from his wife and losing his daughter, Gregory Roberts, living in Australia, began using heroin, and then robbing banks to support his habit. In 1978, he was convicted and sentenced to 19 years in a maximum security prison. In 198o, he managed to escape and fled to India. When he arrived in Bombay, he hired a local named Probaker to be his tour guide. Probaker, known for his huge smile, gave him the name Linbaba or Lin for short and later Probaker’s mother gave him the name Shantaram which means Man Of Gods Peace. In the 10 years Lin was living in India, he lived in an illegal slum where he set up a free health clinic, fell in love, spent time in an Indian prison, got involved in the Bombay Mafia, learned to forge passports, learned to launder money, went to Afghanistan and became involved in the war against the Russians, was involved in umpteen fights and so much more! Gregory David Roberts was on the Most Wanted List for 10 years! Although the book ends with Lin in India, there is so much more to his life and I suspect that a sequel is in his future. Gregory was  captured  in 1990 and spent 1 year in a German prison before being extradited to an Australian prison to finish his sentence. While in prison, he spent much of his time writing his 900+ page book, and was released in 1997. Shantaram was published in 2003 and Warner Brothers bought the movie rights 1n 2004. Shantaram is a fascination read, although if you are planning to read it, give yourself plenty of time. This is a real committment!



  1. Congratulations, Susan! I have learned to be wary of my son’s book recommendations. They always seem to be challenging (ie difficult or long). Most recently he suggested I read 2666, by Roberto Bolano, 900 pages, and very confusing. It’s one of those stories where multitudes of seemingly unrelated characters and stories are spun around and eventually come together. Like the Stieg Larsson books, this was published after the author’s death. I haven’t finished it yet, but you’ve given me renewed energy to keep plugging along!

    Comment by Jean — June 18, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  2. I was also proud of finishing Shantaram. The parts that described how people lived in the slums were fascinating. The author’s self-indulgence was very annoying at times. My husband is more than halfway through the book–he may finish by the end of summer!

    Comment by moondance38 — July 20, 2010 @ 9:38 am | Reply

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