Customer Reviews for

Shantaram

Average Rating 4.5
( 283 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(191)

4 Star

(51)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(9)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

My favorite book of all time.

A meaty book, almost 1000 pages long, and every page leaves you hungry for more. I fell in love with this book, though it was a chance encounter in the store that caused me to buy it. I will never regret buying this book. Wonderful!

posted by SmooMcGoo on April 25, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

22 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

The Black Hole of Books

In protest to the chronic tangent in which this book was written, I am presenting my review in outline format. Enjoy.
What I liked:
1. Tremendous adventure with MANY unique and memorable characters. It's hard to believe that this book is pretty much a true story....
In protest to the chronic tangent in which this book was written, I am presenting my review in outline format. Enjoy.
What I liked:
1. Tremendous adventure with MANY unique and memorable characters. It's hard to believe that this book is pretty much a true story.
2. Incredible descriptions of India (Bombay in particular). I've never traveled to India but in speaking to people who have read this book AND been to India, I am assured he captures the essence of this country to a tee. Now the fact that a good part of the book takes place in a slum and I could just about smell the fecal festooned sidewalks through my mind's nostril is a different story, but still, very admirable descriptions.
3. To piggy back on #2, I appreciated the history and cultural context he provided along with the events that affected the story (conflict with Iran, Pakistan, etc.) To a history buff, this is always helpful and welcomed.
What I Didn't Like:
1. The LENGTH - It is soul crushing and SO UNNECESSARY!!!! I would've catapulted this book to a 5-star rating if he had kept to the story telling, which honestly would have cut the length in half, and avoided the self aggrandizing, completely obnoxious philosophical bull sh*t!! I mean, ok, I get it, you went through hell and back, met some crazy powerful and charismatic people, found yourself, lost yourself, whatever. But when you're in the middle of telling me about a potentially huge drug bust, or about to go have sex with a woman with whom you've built up a tremendous amount of tension, I could give to flying f's about your thoughts about the universe moving towards the "ultimate complexity". I. just. don't. care.
2. The "Lesson per Chapter" Approach - Again, to piggy back on #1, the ratio of actual story telling to the author's introspective musings is truly 60/40. As I was saying earlier, in some cases these musings would pop up at a very inopportune moment in the story, but in most cases they appear in the closing of each chapter giving the book an infuriating "lesson of the day" feel to it. Furthermore, the predictable apparition of these delusional gems honestly cheapened the message and by the second half the book I always knew when a chapter was coming to a close because my eyes would start rolling and my sighs of exasperation would increase in strength and volume.
3. My Disappointment - I wanted so badly to love this book. On almost every book site of which I am a member it gets rave reviews. Multilple friends and family members recommended it to me with great enthusiasm. But, alas, I just did not like it. I finished it on Christmas Eve and had I not had several glasses of wine at that point, I would have thrown the book directly into the crackling fire out of pure spite.

posted by ReadingQueen12-17 on December 27, 2010

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Black Hole of Books

    In protest to the chronic tangent in which this book was written, I am presenting my review in outline format. Enjoy.
    What I liked:
    1. Tremendous adventure with MANY unique and memorable characters. It's hard to believe that this book is pretty much a true story.
    2. Incredible descriptions of India (Bombay in particular). I've never traveled to India but in speaking to people who have read this book AND been to India, I am assured he captures the essence of this country to a tee. Now the fact that a good part of the book takes place in a slum and I could just about smell the fecal festooned sidewalks through my mind's nostril is a different story, but still, very admirable descriptions.
    3. To piggy back on #2, I appreciated the history and cultural context he provided along with the events that affected the story (conflict with Iran, Pakistan, etc.) To a history buff, this is always helpful and welcomed.
    What I Didn't Like:
    1. The LENGTH - It is soul crushing and SO UNNECESSARY!!!! I would've catapulted this book to a 5-star rating if he had kept to the story telling, which honestly would have cut the length in half, and avoided the self aggrandizing, completely obnoxious philosophical bull sh*t!! I mean, ok, I get it, you went through hell and back, met some crazy powerful and charismatic people, found yourself, lost yourself, whatever. But when you're in the middle of telling me about a potentially huge drug bust, or about to go have sex with a woman with whom you've built up a tremendous amount of tension, I could give to flying f's about your thoughts about the universe moving towards the "ultimate complexity". I. just. don't. care.
    2. The "Lesson per Chapter" Approach - Again, to piggy back on #1, the ratio of actual story telling to the author's introspective musings is truly 60/40. As I was saying earlier, in some cases these musings would pop up at a very inopportune moment in the story, but in most cases they appear in the closing of each chapter giving the book an infuriating "lesson of the day" feel to it. Furthermore, the predictable apparition of these delusional gems honestly cheapened the message and by the second half the book I always knew when a chapter was coming to a close because my eyes would start rolling and my sighs of exasperation would increase in strength and volume.
    3. My Disappointment - I wanted so badly to love this book. On almost every book site of which I am a member it gets rave reviews. Multilple friends and family members recommended it to me with great enthusiasm. But, alas, I just did not like it. I finished it on Christmas Eve and had I not had several glasses of wine at that point, I would have thrown the book directly into the crackling fire out of pure spite.

    22 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2009

    My favorite book of all time.

    A meaty book, almost 1000 pages long, and every page leaves you hungry for more. I fell in love with this book, though it was a chance encounter in the store that caused me to buy it. I will never regret buying this book. Wonderful!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 1, 2009

    Great read

    this is a very well written book that i enjoyed until the end. although it is quite lenghty, it is worth the journey.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    Great biography!

    Amazing story and very well told. Cannot put it down (not a typical biography book). A+++

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Great reading

    This writer is fantastic. His manner of of writing is bright, with fresh discriptive visual cues. I love how the writer makes me feel a longing to know and understand India. The manner in which I am brought along with the main character, Lin, through the ztreets of Bombay, or on an all day and night trip to a small villiage to visit the family of a friend let me walk along side him as he learned how to love India. I want to read rhis for a second time.'7667y

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    If you liked the Kite Runner / A Thousand Splendid Suns, this is a must read.

    Fabulous writing, the descriptions of foods, smells, sights makes you feel like you are there with the author. His broken english diction as spoken by the native Indians is laugh out loud funny at times and very endearing. From a historical perspective, just as eye-opening as the accounts offered in the 2 books in the headline.

    Gripping drama, fantastic and colorful cast of characters.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Mesmerizing! And I did meet Gregory David Roberts too!

    Great novel. Very nostalgic. He presents Bombay in its original light. The light of the near past. The description of the land, it's people and the author's relation with the city is beautiful. A must read for anybody who loves Bombay and anybody who wants to know about this magnanimous metropolis. And I met Greg Roberts in Leopold Cafe in Colaba in 2005 while I was on a trip home. I also got his autograph on a 10 Rupee note. It was a day I will never forget.
    The simplicity of the characters, the boldness of their friendship, the love between the characters, the ruthlessness of the city, the humid salty air and the hustle-bustle, the hugeness of the city and yet its ability to make you her own is captured very well by the author. A+ for Gregory David Roberts. You make me proud of being a Mumbaikar!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of a Kind, A Novel That Ought To B e Celebrated

    Shantaram is a beautifully crafted novel telling the tale of an ex-con attempting to escape his formerly tumultuous life by assimilating into the bustling life of Bombay, India. I need say no more for it encompasses all the themes a modern masterpiece requires and never disappoints. It is a must read for the avid reader and the book's massive size shouldn't make anyone think twice before setting his/her hands on it. It is one of my favorite books of all time and I'd usually be hesitant to say this because I have read some other remarkable novels but this one stands out from the rest of the crowd. Keep an eye out for Gregory David Roberts in the future, because this book will surely elevate him to the status of other literary veterans of today, just as The Kite Runner did to Khaled Hosseini.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Intriguing, informative, touching - This is one of my all-time favorite books - you won't be able to put it down.

    One of my all-time favorite books. I've read it twice so far. Roberts gives you a true-to-life feeling of what it would be like to live in the slums of Mumbai with all the experiences that would entail. His characters come alive. The fact that this is based on fact makes it even more compelling. Two of my daughters decided to travel to India after reading this book and said most of the young travelers there were either carrying the book with them or hoping to get a copy. They actually stayed in a hotel over Leopold's. By the way, they loved India and found it fascinating.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Personal and observed experiences of intrigue, love, and war - often in exotic settings, this book¿s twists and turns compel the reader to keep looking around the corner for what¿s next.

    Had I known exactly what I was getting into I might never have bought this book. If I¿d been cautioned about the aggression and violence I might have missed out on the honor, beauty, and love. The casual tone used to describe the underground world of forgery, murder, and drug and weapons trafficking contrasts with exquisite tales of beauty, betrayal, devastation, redemption, and hope. Shantaram puts a magnifying glass to the horrible living conditions of some of the worlds most beautiful people and how their paths cross with others living in the splendor of wealth and power. A window is opened onto the worlds of wild partying in Bombay, Bollywood movie making, and even guerilla warfare in the remote regions of Afghanistan. The sweltering heat and frigid chill can¿t compare with the passions that rule the characters in this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Vivid page-turner

    Tantalizing, This personal vivid depiction had me completely absorbed page by page.<BR/><BR/>"Every human heartbeat is a universe of possibilities."

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Fabulous!

    This is one of the best books I have ever read! It is filled with danger, drama & romance. Very wordly & thought provoking & the perfect balance of fiction & fact. Also, great for men & women and anyone interested in Indian culture. It is very long but well worth the read! I heard there have been talks of a movie? I would def be one of the first in line.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    if you like books that are exciting and thought provoking, you will be glad you read this book.

    this book is great. when i got the book i was hesitant to start a 900+ page book. once i got in to it, was glad i did. the story is packed with adventure and thoughts on life and living. this is one of those books i want to own and not borrow from the library, because there are many parts i underlined. i posted some of the content on facebook to stimulate the minds of friends and maybe evoke a discussion. if you like books that are exciting and thought provoking, you will be glad you read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    A Must Read!!!

    This by far is one of the greatest modern day novels ever written. The story is captivating, the characters rich, the background electrifying. The author really draws you in to his adventurous life in Bombay. I was sad when the book came to an end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing story!

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I couldn't put it down. It made me want to visit India. Very insightful and beautifully written. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

    My favorite book of all time

    A must read- he is a great storyteller, and the thread of truth woven throughout gives credibility to the fiction. Can't wait for his next book "A Mountain Shadow!"

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    Fantastic Read

    Intelligent, romantic, and heroic - it was a pleasure to read the delicious words written to create the story, find out about the characters, and learn the lessons sprinked throughout the novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Shantaram shazam!

    This is truly one of the most entertaining, enlightening, and extraordinary books i've read in my 35 years on this planet. The fact-based plot is intriguing while brilliant writing keeps the story fast-moving--despite its lumbering 800+ page count. Beyond the plot and the incredibly rich and deep character development, this novel was also brimming with incredible philosophical insight that kept me reading with a highlighter at the ready. I've recommended this book to over half a dozen people and each of them has loved, not liked but loved, this novel as much as i did. Due to it's length and sometimes dark language/themes that reflected the dire poverty and the Hindi mafiosos featured in the book, I wouldn't recommend it for book club though.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    Great Book

    One of the best books I have read in a long time, and I am a bookseller and have read a lot of books. The writing is wonderful. It gives better insight into the people of India than anything I have ever read. The only bad part about the book is that it had to come to an end. I can't wait for more books from this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

    I can say I enjoyed this novel more than any other since Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follet. The imagery and style of writing plus the story kept my attention immeasurably. If you liked Slum Dog Millianaire, or if someone described their experience, while in India, you will find this 936 page novel hard to put down. It is a book that gets around by word of mouth. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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