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4.6 out of 5 stars100
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 16 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on June 3, 2011
I flat out love this book. At 900 pages, I was actually saddened when it ended. The story reads like prose. At times one wondered if the author was trying too hard to impress, but his beautiful, captivating style was demonstrated so often and almost effortlessly that the thought was put to rest.

One of the things I love is the multitude of genres included in this story. Romance, action,adventure, philosophy. All of these and more are blended in to this one mans figurative and literal journey. Another aspect I both loved and loathed was the jarring change of pace that happened at least 3-4 times. You're cozy, you're enjoying the scenery then WHAM! The trajectory flips 180 degrees and you're shaking your head wondering if it really DID just happen. I grew to love this device as I was never allowed to get TOO comfortable.

If there's one negative, and it's not exactly small- it's that I put the book down twice and had to read 200 pages before I found myself entrenched. I was very close to giving up, but am sooo glad I jumped back on board. After those 200 pages I could not stop reading nor could I wait to get back to find out what was going on with these beautifully imagined characters and the world they inhabited. I work in a book store and whenever this book comes up from someone who's read it, I find myself talking for 5-10 minutes to passionate readers both male and female. If you can, do what I did and don't read what it's about. Just dive in and let the author immerse you in his characters world.
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on October 27, 2013
The story is a very interesting one. I think it gives people who may intend to travel to India some insight into the real culture
of the country (though I've never been to India so I can't say firsthand how much of the author's descriptions really held truth). The writing gets too repetitive at times, like the fact that the protanogist was a wanted man who escaped a maximum security prison in Oz. I also skipped some of the repetitive bouts on the existentialism. I did find it a long and harder read, but I did read a whole bunch at a time, because I found the setting (India) and people's behaviour interesting.
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on May 29, 2016
A well written account of the love for a beautiful culture adopted as his own. The story begins with his arrival in Bombay after escaping prison in his homeland and his love of the people that took him in. Even though he came from a troubled past, he attempted to give back to the people of the slums. He immersed himself in their culture, learning their various dialects. He also gives an inside view of the mafia and their impact on the different religious wars and local gang wars. Awesome read!
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on January 9, 2016
Beguiling, frustrating and soaring chasing each other inside your head. And predictably leaving you wanting more. I kept thinking I hated this pompous goof until I landed on tolerating him for the sake of a good book. Be prepared to be challenged but if you hang in, you will be glad you did... or not.
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on August 27, 2015
This book started off well, but dragged on a bit too long. I think he should have ended the story sooner. It's still worth a reading for the great detail about India and slums in particular.
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on February 25, 2016
Interesting read. Having visited India a few times myself, it evokes an authentic feeling of the complexity of Indian society and its multi layered cultures...
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on July 2, 2014
It's a very good read. Being from Mumbai myself, the geographical descriptions are excellent. I found myself engaged and hooked right to the very end!
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on January 1, 2014
Novel for both guys and gals,,romance and mystery and a super intesting view of life in Bombay-Mumbay, India.

luved it !
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on January 31, 2009
I enjoyed this book a lot and, like other reviewers, was alternately anxious yet dreading to get to the end of the story.

I was recently in India, including Mumbai, and enjoyed the excellent descriptions of the city and the people. Since I was a tourist and not a resident, I didn't see so much of the loving, gentle side of its residents. Unfortunately for me, I saw more of the exploitation of tourists. However, I'm more than willing to take his word for the 'real' Indian soul. One of the paradoxes he illustrates in the story is the loving, gentle nature of the slum dwellers he meets and respects contrasted with the murderous, vengeful nature of many of his business associates. When people ask me about India, I can describe it only as a country of incredible contrasts--something any reader of this novel should pick up on.

I found parts of the novel uninteresting and self-indulgent on the author's part. His explanations of his 'law of complexity' (I might have that wording wrong) didn't seem to mesh with the balance of the novel. He may have done better to pen another book outlining his philosophy of life.

He is a great story-teller. I loved his characters--I felt I'd come to know well the primary people in his life. I loved the fact that I could laugh out loud as assassins described the killing of their enemies. His ability to describe events and make you truly participate was particularly true when he described prison life. And, while I didn't always appreciate his 'philosophizing', I appreciated his ability to demonstrate that no one is all good or all bad--we are all a mixture and we all sometimes get things very wrong.

Shantaram is a wonderful read and worth the investment of your time. I, for one, think it's far too rich and complex for a movie--much better suited to a multi-episode special on TV.
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on August 4, 2015
Had to skip most sections as it was a bit redundant and boring. All in all book was good.
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