Shantaram the travel book review that mirrored real life
I first read Shantaram way back in 2007 and even did a small review of the book on my travel related books, DVD’s and guides review page. Of all the books I’ve read in my near 8 year no-return journey this book made the most impact.
Yes I will go so far as to say this is the most enjoyable “travel” read I’ve had in that time. Or at least the one book I remember the most.
As such, I feel it’s deserving of a full review.
What is Shantaram about?
An escaped Australian convict with a fake passport ends up living in the slums of Bombay India. Hunted by the authorities “Lin” becomes a part of an underground world of Indian mafia, expats, gangsters, prostitutes drug lords along with some memorable locals that show him how to live again.
Being mistaken for a doctor in the slums Lin uses his knowledge to help people. To earn money he works with the Indian gangsters and earns their respect. The plot is simply of a broken man trying to find himself in the “real world”.
Shantaram is based largely on the real life of its author David Greggory Roberts.
The joy of picking up a book you know nothing about: Shantaram
I was in New Delhi looking for soemthing to read by way of a street merchants collection of fake books. I’d never heard of Shantaram when I picked up the color faded book. My main worry was if it had all it’s pages still intact! I started reading and prolonged every minute of it as I traveled both India and Nepal in real life.
There’s something about both picking up a book you know knowing about and enjoying it. Plus, reading a good book set in the country you are currently traveling. Put the two together and you are onto a winner!
Is Shantaram really that good?
I bought this book three times. Once for me and on two other occasions for people I met in Nepal. I bought the book at Paradise book sellers, do check out this wonderful little bookstore if you are ever in Kathmandu.
Shantaram doesn’t appeal to everyone. Some people find David Gregory Roberts too egotistical and self righteous. Personally I didn’t find that to be the case. The only negativity I can write about is late in the book when he goes on a serious adventure out of India. That to me seemed a little far fetched. Then again reading Shantaram as a travel adventure book it will appeal more than ever.
Shantaram is one of the very few books I’ve ever read when traveling that has truely stayed with me in memory. If that’s not what a good book is meant to do I don’t know what is!
Just a heads up: It’s 944 pages! So it’s not exactly a light book to carry around weighing in at about 500grms.
If you’d like to buy this book, please consider purchasing it through my Amazon affiliate stores below: I get a tiny, tiny commission of about USD$00.14. Maybe enough to save up so I can keep these books with me as I travel.
If you’d like to read some more travel reviews on books, movies and guides I’ve read then please visit my travel book review section.
Have you read this or another really good travelogue? If you have, can you leave the name of the book in the comments, I am always on the look out for good travelogues!
This is an additional travel book review based on books I’ve read throughout my journey