Epic summer read.
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BY GREGORY DAVID ROBERTS
Shantaram is an epic book club read, if you can schedule in a break or holiday to take this one on.
Based on the author’s experiences and misfortunes Shantaram weaves a story of his own life’s rollercoaster journey in the eighties. Starting out as an Australian fugitive we are taken on his adventures to Mumbai where he lies low as a Western back-packer but soon loses his ID and valuables so ends up facing slum-life. From here on in, the author tells his stories of survival and adventures with the criminal underworld in India. It is difficult to work out the truth from the fiction, the memoirs from the novel. But we want to.
Some events and life choices seem incredulous. He finds himself taking on the role of slum doctor, then involvement with Bombay’s mafia and gun running in Afghanistan. You have to suspend your disbelief at times to enjoy this exciting page turner. But it’s worth it.
We all loved this book and with 900 pages + there was plenty to talk about. But you’ll need to give the group enough time - 6-8 weeks advised.
Average score 9/10
PS. Shantaram fans may also like to read his sequel The Mountain Shadows’which sees Roberts return to Bombay ten years later. But we wondered what new twists and turns could be trusted from the author.
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