Shantaram - The Book

By Sally Turner

First published in 2003, Shantaram is an autobiographic novel written by its Australian author, Gregory David Roberts that has gone on to sell more than a million copies worldwide. Still on every major best-seller list, Shantaram is the real-life story of Roberts, an escaped convict who travels to India and lives there for the next ten years.

The story starts off when an Australian prisoner called Lindsay escapes from his cell and through his connections in the underworld, makes his way to India. He ends up staying in India for the next ten years although that was not part of his plan and the story then shifts focus to his life in India, the people he encounters and his journey for the next ten years.

Lin, as he is called in India, makes friends with a person called Prabhakar who introduces him to his family and that is how he comes to stay in the slums of Mumbai. It is Prabhakar's mother who gives Lin the name Shantaram, meaning Man of Peace since that is what everyone perceives him to be. Shantaram helps set up a health center in the slums and begins to live his life among the people there

What makes the novel really tick is how Shantaram continues to return to his old ways of violence and crime and yet returns to becoming a better person each time. It is here that he falls in love with an American women called Karla and also befriends several people in the Indian film industry and the Mumbai underworld.

Shantaram also manages to travel abroad to Africa and Afghanistan through his connections where he deals in the illegal trading of weapons and arms. However, when his mentor dies, Lin regrets his crime filled ways and decides to live a better life. He returns back to India, shunning his old ways and tries to become a better man and changes himself from within.

There is also a sequel planned for this book as towards the end, Shantaram decides to travel to Sri Lanka on his quest for happiness. A worldwide best-seller, this book is available at all leading bookstores across the world. For all those looking for a discount, my suggestion would be to order online from online retailers. A book with a purpose for everyone, Shantaram is a must read book for everyone!

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